If there’s one thing we do well in the Triangle, it’s research.

One of our Code for Durham volunteer members, John Stephens, Associate Professor at the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government interviewed 34 people to find out more about teh relationships between Code for America volunteer groups in the region and their government collaborators!

John uncovered 14 rewarding aspects as well as a few challenges governments encounter when working with brigades. Some of the top rewarding aspects include:

  • Enthusiasm:

    Illustration: “We don’t often find very good ways to engage highly technical volunteers. This was a new spin on volunteering. One thing that I love about the group is that they are happy to keep plugging away and don’t need a lot of handholding.”

  • Innovation – new ideas, new vision Illustrations:

    a) Innovative, responsive, inclusive and willing to share amongst each other

    b) Code kids not afraid to share half-baked ideas. So different than government or private sector. This is a valuable lesson they brought to us. Share ideas half way through, the world doesn’t end.

    c) Human-centered design – new to our internal IT staff and all the government- Connections and learning [two-way learning]

  • Awareness, publicity and recognition [of open data, open source and increase profile of government services through apps] - llustrations

    a) “Opportunity to promote what we are doing and build momentum [for our program]”

    b) “I owe them so much. It brought more awareness to our [X] programs. We were considered having cutting edge technology … and I am so not that person!”

    c) “Brigade looking back at what [I and colleagues] have done. We get kudos for all the work we’ve done. Folks are recognizing that [our data/IT outreach] has wealth of data that is useful. We are leaders in enabling our data. People take pride in quality of data and making sure that metadata is available. It’s nice to be recognized from the outside”

  • Connections and learning [two-way learning] Illustrations

    a) Opening people’s eyes to the new volunteer opportunities in the world. Highly skilled volunteers serving in different roles that we have not seen before

    b) We have them help us do assessments for our department [RE: open data choices]. We see that as partnering with them – need to have them onboard

Read more of John’s analysis and quotes from government collaborators.