A Day in the Life at Significance Labs

April 21, 2014

On Sunday, we held our first A Day in the Life. We are thrilled by the outcome – technologists and community members learned a lot. We at Significance Labs also gained new insight into how we can create a space for diverse communities to exchange experiences and ideas and how we can improve it for next time.

A Day in the Life is designed for technologists who are interested in learning about how technology can improve conditions for those currently underserved it, but who don’t have a full summer to commit to it (like those in our Solvefor{s} Fellowship). For our first iteration, participants were  a mix of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Technologists across the industry participated- we had engineers and product people from  Google,  Huge, the  Acumen Fund and  Foursquare. Community guides were diverse in age, experience and  neighborhood. They came to us from the  Brooklyn College Community Partnership  and  Green City Force. We made sure to pair up participants according to interests and areas of study- this proved to be crucial for successful and mutual exchanges.  


For the day, pairs spread out throughout Brooklyn and Queens and visited bodegas, parks, schools and internships to name a few locations.  While community members shared their neighborhoods and provided a glimpse into their day to day lives, technologists were able to share insight into their industry, professional advice, and some even swapped beauty tips on the beach of Far Rockaway.  Some pairs also decided to switch roles – community guides will stop by Google and Huge offices to see the day-to-day life of an engineer or programmer.  

We held a feedback session at Significance Labs offices to share experiences and ideas. Though it was a short time to be in a neighborhood and observe challenges community members face on a day-to-day basis, we were excited that A Day in the Life started the conversation. The group raised a number of themes for discussion, ranging from transportation to food justice to employment and mentorship. There were ideas around how to enhance the EBT system with real-time information accessible to users. Others thought about how to increase information about career paths, like what an engineer does on a daily basis. Discussions also covered access to job opportunities and how technology could improve the experience for job seekers.

We learned a lot from this round of A Day in the Life, and are excited to hold future iterations this summer. Want to join? You can learn more and apply for a spot to participate  here!  



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