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Partnering with Tech: Insights from a Planner inside a Tech Consulting Company 20190414

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This presentation was delivered at the 2019 National Planning Conference in San Francisco.

Summary points for planners and community organizations can partner with people working in tech.

1. What: For planners who want to plan for broadband infrastructure, adoption, and digital inclusion, the tech industry is an overlooked partner that wants to solve big problems and needs planners’ help.
2. Why: The consequences of not partnering with tech include harm to already marginalized communities and sections of the public and the industry needs planners to plan for digital inclusion to meet future labor demands.
4. How: Seek out spaces where tech conversations are happening, partner on mentorship and giving, invite techies to participate in an experience (such as a connectivity walk audit), and speak in common language.

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Partnering with Tech: Insights from a Planner inside a Tech Consulting Company 20190414

  1. 1. Partnering with Tech Insights from a planner inside a tech consulting company Rebecca P. Nathanson, MUP
  2. 2. For planners who want to plan for broadband infrastructure, adoption, and digital inclusion, the tech industry is an overlooked partner that wants to solve big problems and needs planners’ help. +
  3. 3. (Me) From planning the built environment to the digital... Planning workshop in Queens, NY Photo: Nathaly Pesantez Source: https://licpost.com/hundreds-turn-out-for-sunnyside-yard-meeting-city-insists-no-predet ermined-plan-in-the-works Software codesign workshop in St. Louis, MO
  4. 4. What do planners need to understand about working in tech? In order to seek partnerships with the tech industry...
  5. 5. 1. Programmers believe that code can solve big problems...
  6. 6. And hackathons with cash prizes incentivize this thinking. Source: Globalhack Source: Globalhack
  7. 7. 2. There is a distrust of institutional knowledge and best practices...
  8. 8. “I generally don’t like things that are prescribed.” - coworker
  9. 9. Because that is how programmers are taught to solve problems. How to Think like Elon Musk By Mayo Oshin 1. Identify and define current assumptions 2. Break down fundamental principles 3. Create from scratch
  10. 10. 3. Many in the industry come from very privileged backgrounds and struggle to understand experiences of exclusion.
  11. 11. Why does the tech industry need planners?
  12. 12. 1. Planning has an ethical foundation to think about public safety and welfare. Technology does not.
  13. 13. 2. New technology can solve the wrong problem...
  14. 14. Or fail entire sections of the public.
  15. 15. 3. Planners can help communicate the importance of broadband infrastructure and access... Map: Evan Sult, The Riverfront Times, 2/11/2019
  16. 16. By tying it to the tech industry’s needs to expand and diversify its workforce. Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics and McKinsey Global Institute analysis, 2017 McKinsey estimates that demand for engineering and data science jobs to grow 34 percent in the U.S. by 2030.
  17. 17. How can planners create partnerships with tech on digital inclusion work?
  18. 18. 1. Find the tech community. Visit the coworking spaces. Check out the meetups. Reach out to data jams and hackathon organizers.
  19. 19. Source: Globalhack Are there any planners here?
  20. 20. 2. Talk to neighborhood organizers and community partners about doing a “connectivity walk audit” with members of the tech community.
  21. 21. 3. Tech companies can partner with schools on mentor programs.
  22. 22. Or provide hardware or technical support Louisville Plan for Digital Inclusion
  23. 23. 4. Acknowledge the knowledge gap and work to find a common language. HACK INTERNET DESERTS! Let’s hack internet deserts. Compete for $300 in prizes.

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