September 2017

Boston Promotes Youth Civic Advocacy Through Pokémon GO

During the months of July and August, the Engagement Lab at Emerson College and ENGAGE Boston, in partnership with the City of Boston and Niantic, Inc, the publisher and developer of the interactive mobile game Pokémon GO, launched a youth-led, city-wide creative competition to promote equitable representation of Boston neighborhoods in the popular mobile game, Pokémon GO.

The Participatory Pokémon GO project was meant to familiarize youth with the relationship between physical and digital civic spaces, while strengthening the representation of all Boston neighborhoods in Pokémon GO.

Youth across Boston were able to join the competition and explore their neighborhoods and identify meaningful locations they wanted to become new PokéStops, real-world locations that reward players in the game. After locating a potential PokéStop, students created 60-second videos explaining why these locations matter and why they should be highlighted in Pokémon GO.

Participatory Pokémon GO Youth Panel

After video submissions ended, a youth Participatory Pokémon GO panel was formed to both create the criteria for winning videos and ultimately pick the winners of the competition. High schoolers selected for the panel hailed from different organizations across the City of Boston, including the Mayor’s Youth Council and Teens in Print.

Sample video submission for a new PokéStop near the Joseph P. Manning School.

The finalized criteria the youth panel used for judging the videos included:

  • Quality – Amount of effort put into video, creation of best content to their ability, youth appear interested in the area or the video in which they are presenting.
  • Content – Answers why the location has important historical, cultural, and personal significance using a strong, compelling argument.
  • Creativity – Is it an interesting location? Does the video highlight any interesting points, or present them in an unique or creative way?
  • Accessibility – Is the location safe to access? Can you access this spot year round? Would people want to come to this location?
  • Distribution – Are there already existing PokéStops in this area? If this is already a PokéStop, does the video support a good argument, or provide greater information?

Sample video submission for a new PokéStop in South End Blackstone Basketball Court

“We hope to engage young people in a conversation about the location data they interact with on a daily basis, whether playing games or walking around their neighborhoods. Everyday life in the city is composed of physical structures, and increasingly, the data that defines digital experiences,” said Eric Gordon, Executive Director of the Engagement Lab and Professor of Visual & Media Arts at Emerson College.

The winning locations for new PokéStops will be announced this October. In the meantime, all the video submissions are viewable here.

The Engagement Lab at Emerson College is an applied research and design lab that investigates and creates media and technology to reduce disparities in civic participation. We work with partners to co-design solutions to the most pressing problems in democracy and governance, including participation gaps, gender or racial discrimination, lack of basic media literacies, youth exclusion and gaps in public health practices. From playing games, to making media, to running campaigns, we create opportunities for people to creatively participate in civic life. Whether they are used in classrooms or town squares, the tools and processes we develop make civic engagement meaningful for citizens and communities.

Microsoft Relocates to Fairport, New York

On Monday, August 7, Microsoft’s sales office moved from Rochester, New York to our new location in Fairport.  Microsoft now resides at 375 Woodcliff Drive in Fairport, New York.  In addition to our retail stores in Buffalo and Syracuse, our footprint continues to grow in upstate with an expansion of our customer and partner conference space in Fairport.  This move allows Microsoft sales and services to truly capitalize on our company’s cloud strategy and provide an easily accessible, state-of-the-art hub where we can work more effectively with customers, partners, developers and user groups.  Our office will also allow easier access to all the surrounding states in our sales regions.

This exciting new facility offers leading edge meeting space with cutting edge technology that will enhance our ability to showcase our products and services.  In addition, our employee space will be an innovative open concept environment that allows our employees to collaborate utilizing our latest technology products.  Nicole Magats, our Area Sales Director was excited to move to this location stating that “The space has been designed to provide effectiveness and efficiency in a friendly modern environment where team work and collaboration are encouraged through open plans and shared spaces. Community is integral to the new design, which includes a customer centered hub for customer connections. Employees will feel that they are working from home in our comfortable design.”

 In addition to our employee space, our office also consists of expansive seminar space with a multipurpose room that can accommodate multiple configurations and additional breakout rooms. All conference rooms will have the latest in audio visual services.

Certified Microsoft Partners and User Groups that would like to book meeting rooms may do so by contacting their Microsoft employee sponsor.  For more information regarding our new Microsoft office in Fairport, please contact our main number at 585-203-3011.

Microsoft New England Picks: Not-To-Miss Events, September 2017

September in Boston means plenty: students return to the city, nights grow longer, and weather gets cooler. We’re here to help you stay on your toes this month with these top events you don’t want to miss:

September 7

Talk Data to Me

In September, General Assembly is teaming up with PULSE@MassChallenge to discuss Data & Healthcare. We have talked a lot about data trends and exciting things happening in the industry, but healthcare innovation comes with its own unique set of challenges. Join us and hear from PULSE alums, and people working in healthcare to understand the possibilities and the limitations of data in this field.

September 9

MIT delta v Demo Day 2017

The MIT delta v accelerator is MIT’s premier student accelerator which concludes with Demo Days in Cambridge, NYC, and Palo Alto. Each Demo Day will showcase our passionate and talented founders as they pitch their innovative, world-changing companies. From the dorm rooms to the labs, our unique teams are solving the toughest problems across many industries.

Reimagining Longevity Ideathon

SOMPO, one of the largest insurers and assisted living facility operators in Japan, sees first-hand the widening gap where demand for quality, dignified care at a reasonable cost far outpaces the supply. They’ve been working with innovators in Japan to deploy new technology-enabled solutions, and compassionate business models, to transform elder care.

SOMPO is now teaming up with Venture Cafe to leverage the wisdom of crowds on a global scale — with a special focus on reimagining care for people with dementia.

September 14

20th Annual Leadership Awards Gala

Our 20th annual MassTLC Leadership Awards Gala celebrates the products, companies, and people that make Massachusetts a leader in technology. Join us for a night filled with excitement at the Seaport World Trade Center as we announce this year’s award winners!

September 18-22

Boston Startup Week

Boston Startup Week is a free, five-day series of events celebrating, educating, and connecting Boston’s startup community. Whether you’re an aspiring founder, the leader of a growing company, or someone who wants to work with startup teams, Boston Startup Week has an event for you.

September 23

Union Capital Boston Fall Resource Fair

In every low-income community there are vast amounts of human and social capital, and wonderful organizations trying to utilize those resources to make improvements. These resources and organizations are often disorganized, disconnected, and inefficient. Union Capital Boston (UCB) aims to connect people with these resources in low-income communities and provide rewards in order to overcome the poverty trap.

National Day of Civic Hacking

Calling all public servants, people with technology skills, and community organizers: National Day of Civic Hacking is your opportunity to show that government can work in the 21st century if we all build it together. Find an event near you and make a meaningful impact on some of your community’s toughest challenges.

September 27

Sunset Cruise of Boston Harbor

Join the Boston Foundation and Save the Harbor/Save the Bay for an enjoyable and educational cruise around Boston Harbor. This special event will be an opportunity to explore important public spaces, including the Harbor Islands, and learn about the economic, civic and social impact of Boston’s natural environment, as well as the critical role it will play in the future of our city.