Though the founders envisioned Congress as the lynchpin of democracy in the United States— most Americans would argue that it is a fundamentally broken institution beset by hyper-partisanship and unresponsive to the needs of its constituents. Congress needs “fixes”—but where will these new tools and solutions come from? By bringing together political scientists, technologists, designers, lawyers, organizational psychologists, and lawmakers, #Hack4Congress will help foster new digital tools, policy innovations, and other technology innovations to address the growing dysfunction in Congress.

Help fix Congress! Join political scientists and policy experts, technologists, architects, and designers at #Hack4Congress at Harvard Kennedy School of Government to help identify ideas and innovations to overcome the dysfunction gripping much of Congress. “Hacking” is not just for technologists. “Hacks” include innovations in policy, architecture, organizational process, art and design, and educational materials, as well as new software and technologies.

Solutions presented at the end of the hackathon will be evaluated by a panel of judges. After a second hackathon hosted by The OpenGov Foundation on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in spring 2015, the winning teams will have an opportunity to present their projects to lawmakers and other high-level officials inside Congress. Move our democracy forward.

Register for #Hack4Congress (free) here.

Challenges and Projects
This event will focus on issues like lawmaking, deliberation, and responsiveness after the elections are over. Projects could address our suggested challenges (Improving the lawmaking process; Facilitating cross-partisan dialogue; Modernizing Congressional participation; Closing the representation and trust gaps; and Reforming campaign finance) or one of your own. What do you think are the most important problems with the mechanics and operations of Congress as an institution? What ideas do you have to fix Congress? Solutions could draw on the fields of organizational behavior/process design, material design, policy and political science, architecture, project management approaches, education, communications, or others. Participants of all expertise are welcome.

Read more about and add your own challenges and project ideas here.

Co-sponsors
#Hack4Congress co-sponsors include The Sunlight Foundation, Congressional Management Foundation, Microsoft New England, CODE2040, and Generation Citizen.

Full agenda
Friday, January 30, 2015
4:10pm: Introductory Panel followed by happy hour

Saturday, January 31 and Sunday, February 1, 2015
8:30am- 5 p.m.: Hackathon

Address
Harvard Kennedy School of Government
79 JFK St., Cambridge, MA

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