Aspiration events are first and foremost convened to strengthen the ties and social networks of technology practitioners in the non-profit/non-governmental sectors.
The #npdev session list is co-developed with participants, facilitators, and partners in the time leading up to and during the Festival. We strongly encourage you to join in the fun at this unique and interactive gathering!
The agenda is designed and facilitated using Aspiration's unique participatory model, in an environment where powerpoint slides are discouraged and dialog and collaboration drive the learning.
Our philosophy centers around getting participants into small-group discussions where they can discuss topics they are passionate about and get answers to their questions and curiosities. Sessions at Aspirations have particular traits; we de-emphasize presentations and lecture, and instead focus on "break-out" sessions that are self-organized whenever possible .
Wednesday November 16
Agenda Mosh Pit
Wednesday Breakout Session I
- Social media and filter bubbles - Aman (Note Taker - David)
- How to successfully recover from large-scale doxxing or trolling - Adria (Note Taker - Ben)
- Trump Watch database - Pratap (Note Taker - George)
- Mapping threats over next four years - Rainey (Note Taker - Scott)
- Tools for engaging with congress - Max (Note Taker - Matt)
- Intersection between organizational goals and actions against Trump - Anya (Note Taker - Ajay)
- What does effective leadership look like? - Dirk (Note Taker - Nick)
- The revolution will not be optimized - Scott (Note Taker - Jay)
- Collaborative, secure, open source tools to help run your office - Lisa (Note Taker - Erick)
- Digital humanitarian response - Willow (Note Taker - Mike)
- Security tools - Jack (Note Taker - Andrew)
Wednesday Breakout Session II
- The role of art - Kristine (Note Taker - Chris)
- Data literacy - Heather (Note Taker - Ajay)
- How to use licenses - Andrew (Note Taker - Brian)
- Mobile and Internet of Things (IOT) security - Norman (Note Taker - Lisa)
- Connecting communities with services - Greg (Note Taker - Willow)
- Role of youth in movements - Jay (Note Taker - Noah)
- Propaganda posters for good - Ruth
- Direct actions - Austin (Note Taker - Matt)
- Communications architecture in political systems - Tomas (Note Taker - Jay)
Thursday, November 17
Thursday Breakout Session I
- Backdrop Jack - Talked about different content management systems, lessons learned from Drupal. Flaws in democracy philosophy, grew to ignore the small organizations. Cool to see how Backdrop is intentional about the community it serves, progressive organizations it builds for to make it ian empoewring experience. Talked about CiviCRM
- CiviCRM Demo Neil - Open source philosophies, creating community around a code base. How to make it useful to everyone, distributing data instead of centralizing it.
- To wireframe or not to wireframe Sarah - Use and utility as a means of communication between developers, designers, customers. Suite of tools including informational analysis, scoping, narratives. But people do some sort of prototyping. Better organized you can be about that, the better. Using graph paper is fine.
- Whistleblowing and dissent Scotty (Note Taker - Pratap) - Main question being addressed was thinking about people inside the gov. How do those of us outside support them if they want to be whistleblowers? Also what networks can be set up in the inside? When people protested the Pentagon, it doesn't help with "you're scum" but it helps with "I know you're going in to do a hard thing, do the right thing." It's also difficult to take a flier, so having a sign with a URL to where to get information might make more sense. Ideas inside, how to have folk network and support one another. Important that we all figure out ways to support whistleblowers on the inside. Because there are folk inside trying to fight.
- Certificates for your website through Let's Encrypt Seth (Note Taker - Thomas) - Introduction to Certificate Authority (Free as in Free Beer) to get HTTPS on your website. Conclusion: get it. Automated, easy to use.
- Financial markets and divestment Brian (Note Taker - Logan) - Talked about fail of publicly traded groups. 50k worldwide, 6k in US. A smaller section of those are responsible for our economy. It's a human-scale problem. Also very complex. Difficult to untangle the connections, how to actually divest from coal. Look at a specific economy in the Midwest and it's a tractable problem to see the employers and where they are. Where to put money. Publicly owned utility cooperatives, how they're dispersed geographically - that indicates where to extend co-ops into rural America.
- Building personas Kristine (Note Taker - Steve) - Creating people that don't actually exist to look at target audiences. Also look at your organization and team, how to work with them., Getting feedback from community, feedback from organization. Structure and support, having an organized mindset in working with people most affected. How to create something useful versus vaporware.
- Mapping out NGO Workflows Beatrice and Jamila (Note Taker - Willow) - Challenges when we need a whole team to get a process completed. Organizational tasks like grant writing, combined data, etc. Crowd sourced information about this. Collaborative document editing, onboarding new people, social media campaigns.How to create processes. Second session will be about the tools to use in those workflows.
- Product management Matt - We all agreed there are different ways to approach these problems. OS projects are all organized differently. Different positions, get a sense of what those differences are, reduce gaps. Developers have a hard time being empathetic to people they don't see. Do user testing, get videos of people using the tool. Show the overlap in problems different people had. How to get a handle of that and prioritize. Project people are moving the process along, make sure it's smooth. The client is the product owner but can't be polled all the time. How to do that when they're not around all the time. If it isn't useful for 80% of users, maybe it shouldn't be a feature.
- Surveillance Self Defense Bill - split into two groups - Matt gave a training in how to give a training, metaphors to use. other group covered what could be improved about trainings in general, having a trainers help desk, recyclable material.
- How to create passwords George - How people password now, when you have 70 passwords. Password managers, brain. Diversity of characters, nonsensical phrases, using a lot of characters. Came up with strategies for strong passwords. Writing things phonetically, shapes on keyboard.
- Lifecycles of websites Grant - Family planning to zombies staggering around eating brains. Middle of life when we need more doctor visits, models for supporting that, providing that care. Counting on users, maintenance plan. Documentation and challenge with that. Content up-to-date-ness indicates if your site is alive or dead. End of life and taking a site down gracefully.
Thursday Breakout Session II
- Working with Non Allies - Nola - Finding common ground with people you disagree with on something you do agree on. How do you prioritize what you'll tackle? If people say something else is more important, how do you have those? Made a map of people we disagree with. Things everyone can have a conversation about: dogs, food, weather. Bridges into people's mind. Then thing s on the right that are more contentious, like gov, sex, Trump. Then a meta conversation about if we're judgmental about other people, how can we move beyond that?
- Will the revolution be decentralized? - Different approaches and use cases for use cases. Put together some user stories about what could be useful and how to build it.
- RegEx2016 - Refactored regex commands. Finding words like category and dogma.
- Tor2016 - Talked about how Tor works. It's not all that complicated. Things just bounce around a lot more. Used to be a tool for anonymity, now also used for circumvention. Important here. Useful thing to do is if you have a group of trusted friends is to run a relay node together. So trust people instead. Then provide bridges so people can't tell you're running Tor. Or a hidden service as organizing information.
- Git2016 - Workflows - one is more a drupal project, the other is for a wordpress project. There are drawings.
- Bridging episodic social movements Shahid
- Writing2016 - use simple language, think about who you're writing for. Let me not weasel. Don't use "should" or "this might not be" just say "don't do it."
- Influence - Military process of objective focus influence. Influence foreign leaders can be used in organizing. Who are the people making the choices, where they get their information, what they value, then sneak them a message through their network or media. Be strategic.
- GrantWriting2016 - Hard and expensive but you can also get money. Extensive notes on the wiki with links resources and directories.Fiscal sponsors are good. Smaller grants are ok. How to get funding, building relationships is key. General marketing and positioning. Fiscal sponsors give you admin support while you get started. Knowing your audience is key Planning long term strategies and purposes, repurpose what you've written.
- Barriers and enablers in the health of shared resources - Dirk and Nick - Problems of community management and interpersonal versus facing teh actual platforms and how we invite people to contribute. List we're hoping to grow in how to mitigate those things. Have teams and tasks which are defined. Knowing decisions need to happen, what contributions look like. Clear asks, clear talking points.
Friday, November 18
Friday Breakout Session I
- NGO workflows and how to choose your tools - if we're coming into an organization, do we want things to be open, sustainable, etc? How do our tech match those values? If we have things like dropbox google drive etc, what questions do we need to ask to reflect the values? We set forth questions, the culture in which it's happening.
- Freelancers21016 - 3 areas for feeling happy in your work. Autonomy, mastery, purpose and meaning. Added security, stability, living wage, validation, etc. Took some time to think about the list of tips and tricks, advice, learning, etc from folk in the room in working towards achieving those.
- Threat Models - process to do participatory threat modeling. What is the threat landscape now? The threats we often think about like Google and NSA might not be that big of a threat. Maybe it's the public.
- Engineering meets social science - En Espanol! California and US create tech products to serve our needs. Needs of other places in other parts of the world are not focused on individualism. Group identity maybe more important. In a rural area, people have gotten together to put together a network. Here we ant things easy and individual. There communication is important. Suluatsu looks for direct help like nursing. They work to say computers and technology can help other people. Direct help and indirect help, both are good. Compared different products and locations.
- Being a white ally - White fragility is frustrating. Focus is on how to talk to other white people about their biases and prejudice. How much is it worthwhile to the individual, or finding other ways to do the work. Lots of history which is flaring up. This nation is founded on genocide and slavery, we haven't come to account for that. Acknowledging where we're from, how you can do for indigenous places. Are we looking for what support they want? They have a land trust, buy back land as a non-federally recognized tribes. Treaties never ratified. They ask us to donate what of our taxes would go to something else. Address is in the notes.
- How can we tell if we're making progress? - We have a puzzle in knowing if we're making progress. Strong vision of success. How it applies to stakeholders, the populations we're trying to affect. Instead of trying to wait for the tactic or process to be over and then evaluating, evaluate along the way and make adjustments. You might spend a lot of time and money on a tactic and not get what you want, but evaluating as you go allows you to adapt
- How to prepare for what you're not prepared for - Willow - Crisis cycle: prepare, respond, recover. also mitigation changing how we do each of those. threat models should include environments and personal care, piggy back on what's already happening. don't panic, respond rather than react. Slow down, act strategically. Don't just act to act. Create separate time in meetings for contingency plans, don't make a "we need to do this now." Identify capacities and resources in your community beforehand, what might take a hit in a crisis? Flag burnout patterns - response takes longer than you expect, so pacing selves. Self care is a part of the response for reals. If you let yourself crumble you won't be able ot help.
- Box - Project for a hardware box for dissident and activist groups. Web server for meetings. Take it offline or online. Take it with you or hide it. Run from local apartment. Lots of the tech is already solved, some things yet to do. Help folk do collaboration with out dealing with firewalls.
Friday Science Fair
Friday Breakout Session II
- Building a taxonomy of digital civil disobedience tactics Beatrice - Expressing dissent online besides angry facebook status. Many of these can be used with any level of technological literacy. Boycotting investments, misinformation campaigns.
- Behavioral economics - Nola has evil mind powers. Parts of our brains are there but manipulated all the time. How to tell what's happening and respond all the time. Things that are happening now are weird in time. When the reaction is happening, know it's happening, consciously put our thinking into another part of our brain to respond with empathy and love. Lots about the election. What you feel when you've got it versus when you're asked to give it up.
- Barter - Really great time. Have lots to do.
- SelfCare2016 - What does self care look like for different people. not looking at the capitalistic care of going to Hawaii for a week. how you share love, how others share love with you. Valuing your life your experiences. Tools and skills we'll post to the wiki.
- Using social media to connect and have conversations in red states - Technological and social techniques. Common ground, forming groups aimed across the isle. Moderation techniques, technology like Thunderclap which tries to gain the trending mechanisms on social media. Talked about the fake news phenomena, talked about the history of newspapers. Opportunities for federated social media for sharing. Weaponized Snopes.
- Training Knowledge Share - what we've learned over the last 3 days about digital security, what we still need to learn. list of events where to learn more about these topics. It'll be on the wiki. List of organizations and networks local and otherwise who provide this sort of training. Some insights like the shelf life of digital tools. Concerns about parachuting trainers into a situation and then parachuting back out again. Trainer help desk, community point person. Finding a way to not come in as "you've got to be like me about this" but what their needs are, from the community towards realization.
- OpenGov2016 - Covered good, bad, ambivalent. License plate readers, shot spotter. Open microphones all the time. What has made opengov data better is to tell people not to get creative so we have familiar, predictable data across the board. As much online access and availability as possible. Then fewer violations of staff. They shouldn't get in trouble.
- Hiring, managing, firing engineers - hiring has competing pools of technologists, what makes it matter to folk. Sense of how to get more women and PoC involved. You might have to change the questions you ask women so you can get answers (like getting credit). Men who are underqualified or people who are overqualified. Organizations might think about putting non tech descriptions first for priority. managing developers, diversity challenges - increasing teh gravity of tasks in order to help people improve. Geek culture can be exclusionary. Talked about gender and safe places to work. Implicitly give credit - name, credit, prove.
- EthicalConsulting2016 - Talked over some complex situations and talked through them. Lessons that came out of it. Concrete outcome is an Aspiration-hosted listserv which is low volume and for these sorts of questions.
- Tor Relay Setup - Covered the operational elements. Relay versus a bridge, exit traffic, looked at config, hosting, what your needs will be.
- Facilitation techniques - Deepdiving into technology of participation. Talked about resources, when to detail interpersonal techniques, how to get folk to engage, navigating different values, structure of events.
- Cultivating a network of change makers within change-resistant institutions - generating togetherness like happy hours, camaraderie. Delivering value like delivering tools, business cases they can use internally, making reliable consultants. And a bit about hacking funding like the things you want to do together that funders don't want to fund, package together things you've already done, and if we get all this done we'll do this other thing.