Q&A with #OpenGov hackathon co-host Webjunto’s Jedidiah Weller

  • Apr 20, 2015

PNA is excited to co-host our first-ever Philly Tech Week event, taking place Tuesday, April 21, at Interstate General Media headquarters in Philadelphia. 

webjunto_logoThis one-day creative, competitive hackathon is an opportunity for reporters, editors and interested community members to work with developers and designers to find new ways to access government records and information, better ways to aggregate or analyze data or information that is already public, or any product or app that improves government transparency.  

The top team will earn a $1,000 cash prize, and projects that include or emphasize issues of diversity and inclusion will be eligible for a $500 prize sponsored by the Philadelphia Gay News.  The $10 registration fee includes a continental breakfast, boxed lunch and networking reception. Registration ends Monday, April 20.

We had a chance to catch up with PNA’s co-host for the event, Webjunto. Read on to find out why Webjunto founder and developer Jedidiah Weller is excited for the April 21 event, why a hackathon is a good way to address everyday problems and more:

Why do you think a hackathon is a good way to address challenges or problems we face in everyday life?

Many of the challenges we face in our daily lives involve an intimate knowledge of the context or situation in which that challenge arises.  For instance, a construction worker may need a new way to visualize a new home, a pharmacist may need a better way of tracking patients’ medication and a politician may require a way to track and outreach to his or her constituents.  In general, many people see a need for improvements in their day to day lives but have no way of expressing, or brainstorming solutions from a tech perspective.

Hackathons are a great way for many different professions to express the challenges they face every day, and for software engineers to develop applications that are meaningful. By working together, hackathons allow for ideas and solutions to be created that never before would have been thought of by independent organizations or individuals.

Why specifically are you excited for the open government hackathon you’re co-hosting with PNA?

We design and build cool apps and websites for a living, but the majority of our market is in the start-up community.  We are so excited to see what challenges are currently being faced in the OpenGov movement and more importantly, are extremely interested in exploring the new frontier of how software and technology can help such a movement.

What type of culture/environment does an event like the one on April 21 create?

The April 21st #OpenGov hackathon fosters an environment of collaboration that empowers us to change the way we think, the way we act, and the way we express our opinions and our governmental policies in more transparent ways.  This is an exciting opportunity to spark to life new ideas that could change the way we think about government concepts.

If you have one hope or goal for next week’s event, what is it?

Hack together extremely cool and useful projects for #OpenGov.

Why, as an organization, do you want to be involved in events like this hackathon?

Hackathons have been adopted worldwide as a standard for finding solutions to common challenges ranging from healthcare, poverty, social injustice and transparency, all the way to environmental impact.  They provide the forum for the most cutting edge ideation and creativity.  We love them for their ability to create change and impact, and they're also extremely fun!

About Webjunto: Webjunto, located in Philadelphia, is a team of designers, developers, thinkers and doers. Webjunto works with startups, nonprofits and others to design user experiences, develop web and mobile solutions and provide overall digital strategy. To learn more, visit www.webjunto.com.

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