During January all of the fellows participated in the 2012 Code for America Training, a month of training, team building, skills sessions, guest speakers and much more. More specifically, we discussed strategies for identifying pain points in cities and how to listen effectively to make sure we’re building something useful, not just a shiny new app. Although we like those, too. We developed into a cohesive group of fellows while finding the identity of our smaller city teams. Each of us walked away sensing the great challenge and opportunity waiting for us. It was humbling, informative and inspiring.
Now, mid-way through our five week city residency, all of the fellows are scattered around the country meeting with community groups and city officials in each of the eight 2012 partner cities to gather information and ideas for the projects we’ll work on this year. Each city has different needs, some have specific projects in mind and others have suggested broader criteria. On our last day in San Francisco before we all dispersed a fellow noted how well prepared we are to deal with uncertainty. Now, as we’re about half way through our time apart, I can’t help but think of the old African proverb that our founder, Jen Pahlka, shared on the first day:
To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together.
This year, we’ll go fast and far, together. This includes with our city partners and teams, citizens across the country, advisors, each other and the entire Code for America network. This includes you too, so please get involved with our Brigade, bring open source projects to your government or get in touch with us if we’re in your city. One of our speakers emphasized that innovation is fundamentally a social process and we’re careful not to lose sight of that — and soon, all the fellows will be back in San Francisco, together.