September 2014

Will You Vote the Tech Candidate for Governor?

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As technology professionals, the workings of government are often far from our daily thoughts. Unlike biotech, information technology is not highly regulated and many who work in tech occupations prefer to keep their distance lest government interfere. We learned a truism with last year’s tech tax debacle: policy will get made regardless of whether affected groups are at the table. At the end of the day, our public officials will make their best judgments about how to spend some $36 billion and it’s our responsibility to be sure that the tech perspective is considered.

At MassTLC, we’ve set out to engage the public and private sector in a conversation about the power of tech as a driver of economic growth and opportunity. With some 13,000 tech companies employing over 209,000 workers in Massachusetts, the tech sector has not only the scale, but also the growth potential to really push the needle on both. Add in the jobs that support this thriving sector, and tech underpins about a fifth of the workforce and a quarter of the wages paid in Massachusetts.

We’ve briefed republican candidate Charlie Baker, democratic candidate Martha Coakley, and independent candidates Evan Falchuk and Jeff McCormick separately on the sector and key issues such as talent. Next week, on September 29th, we’ll host these candidates in a Tech and Innovation Candidates Forum at the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center – New England to hear their perspectives and priorities as is relates to the tech sector and its impact on economic growth and opportunity in Massachusetts.

We hope to have a strong showing of tech professionals interested in learning first hand which candidate will be the best tech governor and in showing the candidates that the tech sector is vibrant and engaged. The event is free but space is limited and registration is required. Visit www.masstlc.org for more info.

– Tom Hopcroft is the president and CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC)

3 Not-To-Miss Events This Week at Microsoft New England

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Fall is officially here! And with the changing leaves and cool temps comes our biggest season for events here at Microsoft New England.

Here are three not to miss this week:

AW1) Understand Your Customer Buying Journey with Big Data
Wednesday, September 24, 6:00pm-8:30pm
Twitter: @AnalyticsWeek

Big Data enables you to combine the vast amount of customer behavior data being generated from mobile, web, social media, transaction systems, Ads and turn them into new insights that drive customer acquisition and retention.

This talk will highlight and showcase how leading edge companies are leveraging big data to:

  • Combine customer interaction data to understand customer buying journey
  • Understand high-value customer behavior beyond profile segmentation
  • Identify the most common path to customer churn
  • Perform market basket analysis to help with cross-sell and up-sell

Speakers:

Matt Schumpert
Director of Product Management

Matt has been working in the enterprise infrastructure software space for 15 years in various capacities, including product management, sales engineering, sales leadership and strategic alliances. An early employee of Big Data pioneer Datameer, Matt is currently focused on driving the strategic direction and technology strategy for Datameer’s flagship Big Data analytics product.  Previously, Matt built the sales engineering organization at Datameer, managed strategic partnerships at Oracle & BEA Systems in the US an Europe, and drove sales of business rules management software at ILOG (now IBM).   Matt holds a BS in Computer Science from the University of Virginia.


SMB2) Boston Social Media Breakfast: 
Measuring Marketing – The Once and Future Key for Success
Friday, September 26, 8:15am – 10:30am
Twitter: #SMB36 | @SMBBoston

SMB36 will focus on the future of measuring marketing as the onslaught of digital marketing and social engagement to drive brand engagement, market penetration and sales has fundamentally changed the marketing landscape.

However, how do you effectively manage and measure the marketing programs against the multitude of different platforms, campaigns and key audience needs? During our next breakfast, we’ll discuss and discover how to align business KPIs against marketing initiatives and effectively monitor, measure and benchmark communications programs.

Join this session to hear marketing experience leaders share their perspectives
with the SMB community.

Speakers:

Sponsors: 

Social Media Breakfast 36 is sponsored by SeeDepth Inc. the comprehensive, easy-to-use PR Analytics platform to measure and prove the value of all PR campaigns and their results.

PCP_logo3) Primary Care Progress 3rd Annual Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit
Saturday, September 27 – Sunday, September 28, 8:00am-8:00pm
Twitter: @PCareProgress

Primary Care Progress (PCP) is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding the primary care workforce so that all Americans have access to patient-centered, team-based, comprehensive primary care. We are recruiting a new generation of interprofessional primary care trainees and reshaping how they are educated to ensure they have both the clinical and leadership skills necessary for a future in a revitalized version of primary care. Our network, including 39 chapters at health care training institutions across the country, has engaged over 3,200 primary care providers, educators and trainees, focused on promoting primary care and improving health professional education to keep pace with the evolving needs of patients and a changing health care system.

While many organizations aim to expand the capacity of our health care system, PCP employs a high-impact, grassroots strategy aimed at rebuilding a pipeline of primary care providers and leaders and introducing them to innovations in care delivery, including technological advancements.

2014 Gregg Stracks Leadership Summit is PCP’s most intensive leadership development initiative.  The 2014 Summit will convene a team of coaches, change-management experts, and practicing primary care clinicians to provide trainees with a set of leadership skills to add to their growing clinical competencies.  The intensive, two-day training will convene 75 PCP chapter leaders from across the country to develop local campaigns promoting primary care and advancing innovation in care delivery and provider training.  Summit participants will include medical, nursing, physician assistant and pharmacy students along with residents and select faculty.  Interactive, in-depth workshops will include:

  • Public narrative – utilizing strategic storytelling to build new teams and recruit leaders;
  • Relationship building– developing a greater understanding of others’ motivations in order to create strong, interdependent relationships based around commitment and action;
  • Strategy – creating goal-oriented campaigns built upon strategic assessments of resources, local opportunities, and the interests of critical stakeholders;
  • Tactical action – leveraging resources and interests to achieve a primary goal and plant the seeds for subsequent change;
  • Communicating for change – effective interpersonal communication to harness a variety of media and technology to reshape stakeholder perceptions of primary care.

SAVE THE DATE! October 1st is our next Conversation on Civic Technology focusing on Education & Data. The event is free; register here: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-conversation-on-civic-technology-tickets-12825384069

CFA Summit Coming Up – See You There!

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The Code for America Summit takes place September 23-25 in San Francisco.  Microsoft is excited to be a capstone sponsor of the Summit and to take advantage of this amazing opportunity to engage with government, companies, civic technologists and organizations, and engaged citizens on the biggest challenges facing our communities.

We are contributing to the formal agenda with a breakout session on “The New C-Suite: Partnerships and Impact,” which will take place Wednesday, Sept. 24, at 9 a.m.  We’ve gathered an impressive panel of city leaders from Los Angeles, Austin, and Puerto Rico, who will offer first-hand views on what works and what doesn’t when trying to transform government – and offer views on why.  The discussion will also focus on how to affect and assess impact, sustainability, scale, and partnerships at the intersection of government services and innovation.  We also are giving a talk at the ignite session on Wednesday evening at 8:00 p.m. that will preview some exciting new research on online communities in civic tech coming out of Microsoft Research’s FUSE Labs.

Most importantly, we are looking forward to the informal conversations at the Summit.  Please join us at the Microsoft Lounge, which will be open during the Civic Tech Fair, lunchtimes, the plenary session breaks, and the receptions, including the closing reception we are sponsoring on Thursday evening.

Why Are We There?

The Summit is an annual demonstration of the year-round efforts that Code for America and other Summit attendees put into improving government, serving citizens and strengthening local economies.  These are top priorities for Microsoft, too, and we’re looking forward to getting inspired and sparking new connections that will help us do more to benefit the places where we live and work.

Within Microsoft, the Technology and Civic Engagement group brings together some of Microsoft’s best people and resources to build long-term partnerships in local communities and leverage technology to make a sustainable and scalable impact.  We currently have teams in Boston, Chicago, New York, and the Bay Area, and are working with the local community on areas such as economic development and innovation, 21st century education and opportunities, smarter and more sustainable cities, data and openness, and efficient government services.

In addition to seeing us at Summit, we hope you will join us for ongoing events in U.S. cities.  Two are coming up on Wednesday, October 1.  In Chicago, there is the next monthly meeting of the Chicago City Data Users Group, which focuses on practical techniques for anyone interested in using Chicago City Data to promote civic engagement, innovation, and economic opportunity.  In Boston that same night, the next conversation in a series on Civic Tech will focus on education and data, including data use, data location, and ways to improve student learning.

How Can We Help?

Across Microsoft, we partner with civic organizations, governments, and other companies to move cities forward, and below are some Microsoft resources that may be of interest.

  • Microsoft Open Technologies, a resource for open source code and open technical standards and technical bridges between Microsoft and non-Microsoft technologies
  • CityNext, Microsoft’s work with partners to define and deliver innovative solutions that support safer, smarter, healthier and modern cities and improve productivity/efficiency in state and local governments
  • BizSpark, how to access free software, support, and visibility that help startups succeed
  • Azure, Microsoft’s cloud services, and the new Azure Government Preview, a cloud platform designed to meet U.S. government demands
  • Power BI, analytics and visualization tools for Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Disaster Response, technology solutions, tools, and practices to support humanitarian relief and disaster management efforts
  • Microsoft Ventures, a global effort around providing mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, joint selling opportunities and other benefits to startups
  • YouthSpark, a global initiative to connect youth with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship; this includes the TEALS program in the U.S. which places computer scientists in high school classrooms across the country

We look forward to connecting at the Code for America Summit and other gatherings of those helping use technology to improve civic communities and keep the conversation going online with Tech and Civic Engagement on Twitter: @MSNewEngland, @MicrosoftNY, @MSFTChicago, @MicrosoftSV.

Annmarie Levins is the General Manager for Microsoft’s Technology & Civic Engagement efforts and is based in Cambridge at Microsoft New England R&D Center (NERD).  She works with the teams in Boston, New York, Chicago, and the Bay Area to bring the best of Microsoft’s technology and people to help these communities address their most pressing challenges.

Education & Data: Conversation on Civic Tech – You are invited!

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As the school year begins, we all naturally turn our minds to education.  Today, teachers have a lot on their plates – from English language learners, inclusion and special education as well as the introduction of the common core and new assessments like PARCC.  With all of those considerations in mind, schools and teachers are always striving to improve outcomes for each individual student.  Education data provides a piece of the solution to meet the needs of each student.

Some local examples include: The Mass Tech Collaborative and the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) held the EduData Challenge, a six week data challenge aimed at acquiring unique insights from a comprehensive cache of Massachusetts education data.  And last school year, Boston Public Schools released Where’s My School Bus? Making real-time bus information available online for parents and guardians.

At the third in the series of conversations on Civic Tech, we plan to address the following questions:

  • What are we currently doing with education data?
  • Where does the data live?
  • How can school systems, administrators and teachers use data to inform and drive outcomes for students?
  • How can we engage with data sets in a scalable and impactful way?

We are bringing together people from various parts of the public and private communities to spark the conversation and then invite the attendees to engage in the discussion.  Invited panelists include:

In coordination with the Venture Café Foundation, the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center will convene a conversation on Civic Tech on October 1, 2014, 5:30PM – 7:30PM at Microsoft New England Research & Development.

Register today http://www.eventbrite.com/e/a-conversation-on-civic-technology-tickets-12825384069.

About Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center New England
The Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center aims for Microsoft to be “of” the community, not just exist within it. Through the Innovation and Policy Center we are extending beyond the tech community to:

  • Connect stakeholders from tech to the broader business, academic and government communities;
  • Catalyze important technology and public policy discussions, and;
  • Contribute more directly with the health and vitality of greater New England.

About Venture Café Foundation
The Venture Café Foundation (VCF) provides resources for the entrepreneurial and innovation communities that enable conversations and collaborations. The Venture Café Foundation presently runs four resource programs: Venture Café, District Hall, Mass Bay Innovation Alliance (MBIA), and Captains of Innovation Program.  The Venture Café Foundation is a not-for-profit, public-purpose sister organization of the Cambridge Innovation Center.  VCF is incorporated as a Massachusetts Not-for-Profit Corporation.

Event Recap: The 17th Annual MassTLC Leadership Awards

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Our own Civic Engagment Manager Aimee Sprung presented David Petty, Computer Science Teacher at Winchester High School, the MassTLC Distinguished Leadership Award. He was indeed surprised when his all-girl mobile app team greeted him on stage! | Photo By Kelly Powers

This past Thursday, I had the distinct honor of presenting some of the awards at the MassTLC Leadership Awards.  This event is a true celebration of the tech industry and the innovation we drive for Massachusetts.  I was excited to present two awards in particular:

  • Emerging Executive of the Year: Naomi Fried, Boston Children’s Hospital – very proud that Microsoft will be hosting the second annual Hacking Pediatrics: Hackathon 2.0 event in October at Microsoft New England, driven by Naomi’s Team!
  • Distinguished Leadership Award: David Petty, Computer Science Teacher, Winchester High School – David’s students helped me to present his award and he shared his wisdom with the audience.  In the words of Kelly Powers, last year’s Massachusetts STEM Teacher of the Year:

    “David’s speech was outstanding recognizing the works of others in the state to promote CS Education and asking the audience to continue to advocate and support efforts to increase access to CS Education for all students and all schools! He put on the table the idea of making CS Count for a High School Math or Science grad requirement, and the need for CS licensure. David reminded the audience about National CS Edweek and the hour of code and encouraged them to get involved!”

Two other awards to note:

  • The 2014 Commonwealth Award: Governor Deval L. Patrick. MassTLC recognized Governor Patrick for his leadership in refocusing the priorities and brand of Massachusetts around an “innovation agenda” for the future.

Special thanks to the Mass TLC for helping us all to pause and look around at the innovation economy that is growing around us in MA – I’m so proud to be part of it!

Congratulations to Boston’s Presidential Innovation Fellows!

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The White House Presidential Innovation Fellows program has welcomed its third round, featuring 27 top-notch web developers, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are working on three key topic areas: Data Innovation; Crowdsourcing; and Veterans’ Experience.

Created to drive collaborative and innovative approaches into the heart of government, the PIF program only exists and, more importantly, our country only moves forward because talented people decide to be a part of creating new and innovative solutions.  It’s the people – both those coming from outside of government and those already on the inside – that work day and night to produce value for the American people.  And no region produced more Fellows in this round than Boston.  Whether born here, educated here, or working here, Microsoft New England would like to congratulate the following Fellows on taking a bit of the Hub to Washington, DC:

  • Sarah Brooks (Design Strategist, BA from Boston University)
  • Andrea Ippolito (Engineering Systems PhD Candidate at MIT)
  • Julia Winn (Product Manager at MIT Media Lab Spinoff Ginger.io, Founder of BetterFit – a TechStars Boston company, BS from Harvard University)
  • Julie Kim (Project Director at at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, BA and MA from Harvard University)
  • Jeff Chen (Director of Analytics at FDNY, BA from Tufts University)
  • Christopher Daggett (Vice President at ideas42)
  • Maia Hansen (Software Architect at the Broad Center at MIT and Harvard, native Bostonian)
  • Timothy Jones (Mohr Davidow Ventures, BS and MBA from MIT)
  • E.J. Kalafarski (Vice President of Product at Onswipe, taught new media at Tufts, BS from Tufts, native of Massachusetts)
  • Bosco So (BS from MIT)
  • Gajen Sunthara (Principal Software Architect at the Innovation Acceleration Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, MS from Harvard University)
  • Dr. Clarence Wardell III (Researcher and Social Entrepreneur, Affiliate of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society)
  • Ashley Jablow (Challenge and Business Development Lead at OpenIDEO, MBA from Boston University)

You can learn more about these Fellows and the rest of their colleagues by reading the bios here.  Please join us in congratulating them on their selection and wishing them the best as they tackle these important challenges.

TEALS Expands in Massachusetts and Beyond

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As the new school year begins, I am excited to see the additional Computer Science classes being offered across Massachusetts.  Thanks to the professional development MassCAN coordinated via code.org and NSF grants, Exploring Computer Science will be delivered at >50 high schools this year.  In addition, TEALS has enabled 6 communities to host Intro or AP Computer Science at schools that were not offering CS in the past.

“The industry volunteers through the TEALS program helped Cambridge Rindge and Latin School (CRLS) expand our CS offerings in 2013-2014 to support an AP class in the fall and spring semesters,” said Doug McGlathery, Computer Science and Math teacher at CRLS.

TEALS (Technology Education And Literacy in Schools), a part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, is a grassroots employee driven program that recruits, mentors, and places high tech professionals who are passionate about computer science education into high school classes as part-time teachers.  TEALS works with schools and classroom teachers to eventually hand off the CS courses to the classroom teachers so the school can maintain and grow a sustainable CS program on their own.

TEALS is also supporting Boston, Cambridge, Watertown, Revere, Medford and Billerica with skilled volunteers to grow CS offerings for high school students.  All volunteers participated in 9 weeks of professional development to prepare for their time in the classroom.

“I’m heading into my second year in the classroom at CRLS,” said Eric Jewart, Senior Developer at Microsoft and a TEALS volunteer at CRLS.  “I had a lot of fun working with the students last year and I am excited to see Doug (McGlathery) take the lead this year.”

For more information on TEALS please visit tealsk12.org.  Additional computer science professional development will be offered through CSTA and MassCAN.  Please contact Kelly Powers for more information.

Read more about today’s announcement of Microsoft’s expansion of TEALS, both globally and in the United States, via the Official Microsoft Blog

Interview: MassChallenge Finalist OpportunitySpace on Rebuilding Forgotten Spaces

OpportunitySpace

If you’re interested in civic technology, you will love OpportunitySpaceOpportunitySpace is an online marketplace that helps stakeholders discover untapped real estate opportunities for the purpose of rebuilding cities. They’re currently located in Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, and Camberland in Rhode Island as well as Louisville Kentucky, and are in the midst of talks with city officials about coming to Massachusetts. 

One of the biggest challenges with under-valued spaces like vacant lots, brownfields, surplus government land/buildings, and more, are that they’re virtually invisible to the market because the data is hard to access. OpportunitySpace works with government partners to put information online in a user-friendly format—a set of tools that streamline information and make communication between decision-makers easier. These are the Opportunities.

Take a look at their website to get an idea.

We had the chance to chat with Alex and Cristina to find out what’s behind the OpportunitySpace vision straight from the source. 

What is OpportunitySpace?

(ALEX) A marketplace and online community that brings together the public sector, private developers and investors and the civic community to publicly unitize vacant land and buildings. We’re similar to a Zillow or a Costar but focusing on land and buildings that are not ready to market to the end user. The type of activity that we are encouraging is developing and positioning these properties in the market for maximum profit.

(CRISTINA) We target the forgotten spaces, and as we are going through the pilot program we are advancing tech, building partnerships and building an online community of people that care about investing and developing these properties to build places that people can work and play.

Our team has a fascination with development and city planning. Opportunity Space brings together design, data, creative thinking, public policy, and community development—on any given day we are facing a new challenge.

Who are the people actually using the product?

(CRISTINA) Architects and small housing specialists—forward-thinking developers. These people would have a hard time finding these properties on any other resource out there today. We want to inspire more people to take on the role to help cities.

Congratulations on being named a MassChallenge Finalist! What inspired you sign up for the program?

(CRISTINA) We’ve known a lot of other companies that have gone through the program and we are familiar with them through our work with the Harvard Innovation Lab—there are a lot of recruits from there, and they have been a helpful partner to help transition us to that next step. We had applied a year ago but didn’t make it to the finals. We are excited to be given this opportunity now.

OpportunitySpace is a contender for the Civic Tech Sidecar Prize. People have lots of different definitions of “civic tech”. How would you define it?

(ALEX) Technology that enables a civic process, existing or new. A collaboration across public, private and civic venues.

Get to know OpportunitySpace at the next Boston TechBreakfast this Tuesday, September 9th at Microsoft New England! 

Don’t miss the MassChallenge Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, October 29th to find out which startup takes home our $50K Civic Tech Sidecar Prize!

The One Fund Center — Using tech innovatively to help survivors heal

the-one-fund-bostonAs we approach the two year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, it is without a doubt that the city, and its people, are still feeling the effects of that devastating day.

In an effort to assist those affected by the bombings, The One Fund Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary announced the creation of the One Fund Center yesterday, a collaboration that will offer ongoing care to those impacted by the bombings.

“In addition to more traditional treatment methods, the One Fund Center will use newly developed technology to help patients suffering from tinnitus, an approach we hope will silence the invasive ringing sensation associated with this type of disorder,” says Daniel Polley, PhD, director of the Amelia Peabody Neuroplasticity Research Unit, Mass. Eye and Ear.

Microsoft New England is proud to support The One Fund with a donation of Surface Pro 2s to assist in research and care surrounding tinnitus.  The Surface Pro 2s will help researchers as they develop auditory rehabilitation software that can be installed on mobile tablet devices used by survivors. Using an immersive gaming interface may help “reset” the pathological activity in certain brain areas that causes tinnitus, potentially eliminating many of the debilitating symptoms survivors may experience. The portability of the tablets enables patients to benefit from individualized rehabilitation strategies in the comfort of their own homes, rather than coming into the hospital for treatment.

Learn more about this project:
One Fund Boston Distributes Final Funds to Bombing Survivors
OneFund to distribute another $18.5m to bombing victims
Audio game may help soften tinnitus’s din

Learn more about Microsoft’s community programs, including the YouthSpark initiative in Boston.