Five years ago, we started the Code for America Summit as a way to showcase the work that fellows were doing in a few cities around the country. It was a modest event—we rounded up 83 attendees and barely filled the main auditorium at SPUR’s headquarters.
As our movement continues to grow, so does the scale of the Summit. Fast forward to this year and our largest Summit yet. This year we welcomed:
- 1,184 attendees
- 200 speakers
- 20 countries
- 163 governments
- 456 government staff
- 191 Brigade members
- 1,800 unique livestream viewers
- 37 companies participating in the Tech Fair
- 13 Code for America Technology Award winners
During the Summit, we heard from incredible speakers inside and outside of government who are working hard to build a 21st century government for the people, by the people. One of the major themes from this year was that it’s not just about tech, it’s also about the people. In showing up to the Summit and sharing your stories, we were humbled by your dedication to your users, residents, and neighbors—and how you tirelessly work to improve their experience.
You can read our main stage recaps (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3), and check out videos of mainstage talks. We also created a fantastic stream of Tweets (or check out #CfASummit). In fact, we even trended internationally on Twitter for a few hours!
This momentum reveals just how rapidly the civic and government technology space is growing and evolving. We’re tackling large, complex problems, but our coalition of community organizers, designers, policy wonks, technologists, and public servants provide the skills to make the answers within reach.
As Jennifer Pahlka, Code for America Founder and Executive Director, put it during her opening remarks, working in government or with government is hard. Working in government when you’re trying to change the status quo—and have accepted the need to take risks to do that—can be really hard. Often, systems resist change and the work is slow.
The Summit provides practical skills and inspiration to address this, but it’s also a support group and a community. With the 2015 Summit behind us, we hope you left Oakland armed with new ideas, tools, practices, connections, and a reminder that you are not alone in this work.
What stood out to me most this year was the energy of the event, both on and off stage. Creating simple, easy to use government interfaces is tough, but the passion of everyone working in this space is contagious and revitalizing. At Code for America we want to keep that spirit alive, year-round. There are lots of ways to stay involved:
- Continue the conversation in our Communities of Practices around Safety and Justice, Economic Development, Health, and Communications and Engagement
- Join a local Brigade
- Code for America by checking out our civic tech issue finder
- Re-watch and share inspiring Summit talks with your colleagues
It was an honor to organize the 2015 Summit. We hope you’ll join us next year!
-Debs and the #CfASummit team