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NewCo Boston: A Day to See and Be Seen

There are some 300 colleges and universities within 90 miles of Boston, Massachusetts. Our region has the most educated population in the nation, and the state is regularly ranked as number one in innovation capacity.

Massachusetts is poised to lead the next major innovation wave–one characterized by smart, connected machines and devices. Yet, despite a critical mass of education and innovative organizations we are still, paradoxically, coming up short in one critical component: talent. We need to find new ways to get people together to experience what is happening here and to fill them with the kind of pride and enthusiasm that convinces them to keep their talents here upon graduation.

NewCo Boston, April 4-6, can help accomplish this goal. Founded by six-time media and tech entrepreneur John Battelle, NewCo sets out to identify, celebrate, and connect the engines of positive change in our society while fostering trust, storytelling, and true connection between the people driving a new kind of global capitalism. Through intimate sessions, NewCo festivals create lasting engagement and deep, critical connections.

NewCo Boston will feature 80+ innovative companies from across the region opening their doors and inviting the public in for a behind-the-scenes look at companies and conversations with the founders, CEOs and other drivers of innovation in their native habitats. With more than 750,000 possible combinations, each journey can be unique. Each day of this two-day festival concludes with hundreds of fellow NewCo attendees getting together at some of the best networking “meetups” in the region.

What makes NewCo so perfect for Massachusetts?

Tech in Massachusetts has an opportunity to welcome executives, investors, engineers, entrepreneurs, students, media, and generally curious people to come see what’s happening behinds the doors of tech. Whether looking for that new idea or new position, broadening your network and your view of what’s happening across the industry is a smart move.

NewCo is an opportunity to attract and retain more talent, and , as we showcase our amazing local companies on the global NewCo media platform, more people across the 16+ other NewCo cities – from Istanbul to Barcelona to San Francisco – will learn about the great inventors and inventions here, thereby elevating our innovation brand and drawing additional attention and talent to the region.

Finally, NewCo gives us a glimpse into the future. What is being developed today will be the products and services of tomorrow. If you’re looking to network, to find a better job, or to just get a few new ideas, it’s a day worth checking out. Learn more, and join 1,000+ others for the inaugural NewCo Boston festival, by visiting bos.newco.co.

Tom Hopcroft is President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council, organizer of NewCo Boston. He can be reached at tom@Masstlc.org. 

Tom Hopcroft is President & CEO of the Mass Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), the region’s leading technology association and the premier network for tech executives, entrepreneurs, investors and policy-makers. A Massachusetts attorney and former adjunct professor at Northeastern University’s College of Business Administration, Mr. Hopcroft founded and led the New England Business and Technology Association which merged with the Mass Software Council in 2005 and later the Mass Network Communications Council in 2009 to form what is today the largest technology organization in the New England with member companies ranging from early stage start-up to global enterprise across the entire tech ecosystem. Hopcroft serves as Chairman of the Fiscal Affairs and Administrative Policy Committee on the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. He is also on the boards of the MassTLC Education Foundation, MassRobotics, and the Technology Councils of North America. Mr. Hopcroft lives in Winchester, MA, with his wife and two boys.

Make Data Matter — 2017 Hubway Data Challenge

Happy Spring!

How are you celebrating the new season? Spring cleaning? Planning your garden? Getting ready to bike in the warm weather?

How about creating new projects with data?

We’re jumping into spring with Hubway to help launch their 2017 Hubway Data Challenge. First held in 2012, the Hubway Data Challenge is a call for local data enthusiasts to bring Hubway’s trip data to life. Entrants can use trip data from across the Hubway system in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Brookline to create unique, analytical, and creative visualizations or other projects that reveal new user patterns about commuting via Hubway.

Where do Hubway users ride? When do they ride? How far do they go? Which stations are most popular? On what days of the week are most rides taken? How do user patterns differ between members and casual riders? How does weather affect usage? These and many other questions can be answered by the ride data.

Entries will be considered for six different categories. Each category will have one winner selected.

Over $7,500 worth of prizes will be awarded. The winning entry in each category will receive this package worth over $1,200, including prizes from Microsoft, General Assembly, b.good restaurant, Cleverhood, Passim, and $250 cash!

How to Enter

Enter your name, email address, phone number, project title, description (up to 600 characters), screenshot, and a self-hosted URL of your visualization or other data-based creation into our online entry form.

And the fun doesn’t stop there — we’ve partnered with Hubway beyond the data challenge for some exciting surprises. Stay posted to our blog and our Twitter to find out more!

Entries must be completed by April 10, 2017, 11:59 PM EST. View the official rules of the 2017 Hubway Data Challenge. Entrants must be at least 18 years old.

Introducing the Public Engagement Roadmap: Creative Resources for Meaningful Civic Participation

Originally published on Medium by the Engagement Lab @ Emerson College.

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the Public Engagement Roadmap, a new suite of creative resources aimed at supporting all stages of planning public engagement for non-profits and governments on local, state, and national levels.

Designed and created by the Engagement Lab in partnership with Living Cities and with support from the Citi Foundation, the Roadmap provides an actionable, step-by-step breakdown for creative and effective public engagement. Emphasizing the model of co-production, where citizens collaborate at all stages of decision-making on public issues, the Roadmap balances digital and in-person strategies to help practitioners navigate the ever-shifting landscape of engagement in the 21st Century.

The Roadmap is based on practical findings summarized in Accelerating Public Engagement, a report written by Eric Gordon, Executive Director of the Engagement Lab and Associate Professor at Emerson College, about real-life examples from public engagement during the second cohort of Living Cities’ City Accelerator program. Over the course of 18-months, Gordon and the Engagement Lab team provided technical assistance and guidance to city officials in the program from Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Seattle as they implemented projects to engage lower income residents on issues ranging from post-incarceration re-entry services to public health campaigns.

“The roadmap is a story of what it takes for organizations to actually partner with communities, well beyond checking the box,” said Eric Gordon. “Its focus is on creative methods, where relationships are put before efficiencies. Understanding how to use media and technology to enhance the human part of public engagement is more important now than ever before. That’s the focus of the report, and indeed, that’s the focus of all the Engagement Lab’s work.”

In all, the Roadmap comprises four resources grounded in design-thinking to help organizations map meaningful public engagement:

  • The Toolkit, a dynamic, online assessment that helps gauge where you are with your plan, what your plan’s strengths are, and where you might benefit from some additional guidance, and then gets you started with a series of strategic exercises and practical activities to improve your engagement plan.
  • The Guide, a comprehensive report called, Accelerating Public Engagement, which provides background on public engagement and offers practical, detailed approaches to use when planning on- and offline processes.
  • The Case Studies, a closer look at the stories from participant cities in the City Accelerator program and how they embraced the model of co-production to discover new ways to engage more deeply with the communities they serve.
  • The Game, a tabletop game called, “Chart the Course” that guides players through an entire public engagement planning process and gives teams an opportunity to explore different engagement tactics, role-play possible outcomes with stakeholders, and reflect on the implications of their actions.

“This Roadmap is intended for cities around the country who recognize that the solutions for today’s toughest problems aren’t found in some hidden corner of city hall,” wrote Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities, “but rather are co-developed through partnerships with residents, community colleges and universities, nonprofits, philanthropic organizations, and the business community.”

Explore the Public Engagement Roadmap here, and learn more about the work of the City Accelerator program here. If you would like to schedule a consultation about the Roadmap, please email info@elab.emerson.edu.

#Recap: Boston Area Research Initiative’s 2017 Spring Conference

How is the City of Boston using data to improve its residents’ experience?

Last week, the Boston Area Research Initiative, or BARI, hosted its annual Spring Conference, centered around the theme “Data-Driven Research, Policy, & Practice: Lessons from Boston, for Boston.” Over two days, the conference explored existing work with Boston civic data, a look ahead at the future of data, and possibilities for idea-sharing.

The conference culminated in a data visualization screen-share, where graduate students showcased examples of uses for Boston crime data. These visualizations incorporated crime categorization, neighborhood crime statistics, demographics, and beyond to exemplify the range of approaches one can take to public, open data. We were honored to contribute Microsoft Surface devices to help these students show off their exceptional work.

Miss out on last week’s conference? Catch up with BARI’s pre-recorded session videos here.

Top tweets from the conference (using #BostonData):

#NERD10: Celebrating Women’s History Month and the Next 10 Years of Microsoft R&D

2017 marks ten years that Microsoft has hosted one of its Global Development Centers in Cambridge. The Microsoft New England Research & Development Center, fondly referred to as NERD, is celebrating its anniversary with stories and events year-round. Please join us in the celebration on the ground and online using #NERD10.

Happy Women’s History Month! What I appreciate most about Microsoft’s New England Research & Development Center (NERD) is our spirit of inclusion and commitment to diversity. I have been working in software for well over 20 years now, and I have never been more optimistic about our ability to change the face of this industry than I am today, in part  because of the energy and work I see happening here at NERD.

Creating a truly inclusive culture is not easy. Diversity by its very nature brings varied perspectives and debate. At NERD, we believe that those are the moments when we learn the most and where the creative spark of innovation lies. A few examples: This month we are partnering with our Kendall Square neighbor Akamai to discuss “Being Bold for Change” in celebration of International Women’s Day. On March 23, our Blacks & Africans at Microsoft (BAM) community is hosting a Minority Students Day of mentoring and discussion.

I started my Microsoft career at headquarters in Redmond, WA and spent many years there. In 2012, I relocated to New England to lead the Microsoft Intune PM team. I love working in Kendall Square and appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit here. We are surrounded by the best in academia, research, innovation, and technology. I can pop next door to enjoy a leadership class on applied neuroscience at MIT Sloan School of Management or head downstairs to our NERD conference center to join a Codess event with women coders. Not to mention, so many more places to eat and grab a cocktail have opened in the last few years. (My favorite is Rosemary’s Baby at Za/EVOO. Yum!)

This month also marks my one year anniversary as the General Manager of NERD—a title that always makes me laugh a little. I have bold aspirations for Microsoft in our area. In December, we started demolition to completely renovate and revitalize our offices at 1 Memorial Drive in Cambridge. Our goal is to create an environment that inspires our engineers—and makes Microsoft the best place to work and build their careers. We will have a Microsoft Garage space in our conference center, which will include collaborative, creative spaces as well as Maker and Advanced Maker labs where people can build, tinker, and prototype to bring their ideas to life. Our space at 1 Memorial will be open, bright, and highlight the amazing technology Microsoft has to offer.

Feb 2nd Women in Data Science “Hacking Bias” Ideation session @ NERD

At Microsoft NERD, we are home to an incredible group of researchers, engineers, and professionals. Microsoft NERD engineers and data scientists work on Azure Machine Learning, Office 365 security, Office collaboration, Skype, Xamarin, my own Microsoft Intune, and much more.  Under the leadership of Jennifer Chayes, we host Microsoft Research Lab-New England which is known for its interdisciplinary approach to research by our researchers, as well as a large group of postdocs, interns, and distinguished visiting faculty members.

Take a look at the predictions from the women of Microsoft Research on what to expect in 2017—hmm, I think some predictions already came true. I encourage you to explore our job openings, and to the students out there, we offer a number of internship opportunities right here in Cambridge.  I hope you’ll review the opportunities that exist here and consider joining us as we build our secret sauce, a spirit of inclusion and a commitment to diversity that makes me proud to be a leader here.  

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

March into civic tech with us! This month, we’re all about exploring new avenues, building new things, and creating new opportunities for civic engagement. Join us!

March 2

Resilient Coders Demo Day at Startup Institute

Diversity and inclusion in the innovation community are core priorities of ours at Resilient Coders that we share with our friends at Startup Institute. If you’re not familiar with Resilient Coders, we teach young and early-career Bostonians from traditionally underserved communities web development skills.

On Thursday, March 2nd, Startup Institute will be opening their doors to our current cohort of talented UI developers as they graduate from Resilient Coders Bootcamp. They will have spent the last eight weeks learning about accessibility, responsive CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, and git. They will have gone out, procured clients, designed and built websites for those clients, and invoiced them for their work. This is an opportunity for them to meet potential employers, and showcase their work.

Are you looking to hire junior-level dev talent? These coders have what it takes to be high-impact hires; you’re invited to meet them as they pitch their skills, ambition, and hustle.

March 3-4

The European Conference 2017 at Harvard University

Jean Monnet once expressed that “crises are the greatest unifier.” Today, Europe undoubtedly faces many challenges – slow economic growth, extreme right-wing politics, large refugee inflows, and a frozen conflict in the east, to name a few. However, these challenges also present opportunities – to better understand the forces pulling toward disintegration and to reimagine a Europe that can better deliver on the promise of common peace and prosperity.

The aims of the European Conference 2017 are to forge innovative, potentially disruptive solutions to Europe’s greatest challenges and propose ideas for bold leadership directly to the current and future leaders of Europe.

March 7

Learn Lab Educators and Students Workshop: Blended Learning with Office 365

Office 365 is free for students and teachers of Boston Public Schools! You may be aware of some of the great tools available in Office 365, but do you know how you can use OneDrive, Skype for Business, and OneNote Class Notebooks to help you incorporate blended learning in your classroom?  Let’s explore blended learning, its impact on teaching and learning, and see how the full suite of tools provided within Office365 will help you build a robust learning environment that fosters student success.

March 8

International Women’s Day: Equity in Tech

Join AIGA Boston and EF, for an event on International Women’s Day. We will be hosting a reception, a screening of a special premiere episode of “Fix My App,” produced by Expose UX in partnership with Ladies that UX, and panel discussion with local women leaders in the Tech and Design industries.

International Women’s Day acts as an important catalyst and vehicle for driving greater change for women and moving closer to gender parity. For IWD 2017, they are asking people to #BeBoldForChange to help forge a better working world. Join us, learn about their stories, and share your actions for change.

March 9

Data-Driven Research, Policy & Practice: Lessons from Boston, for Boston

In recent years multiple conferences, both here in Boston and elsewhere, have proclaimed the promise of “urban data,” “smart cities,” and the like, helping to stimulate this rapidly growing field. The time is now ripe for a different type of conference: one that showcases the extensive urban data science and policy work occurring within the region with a focus on cross-sector collaboration. In this spirit, “Data-Driven Research, Policy, & Practice: Lessons from Boston, for Boston,” to be hosted by the Boston Area Research Initiative (BARI), will feature a broad range of data-driven work occurring in the region, spanning the academic, public, private, and non-profit sectors.

Over a day and a half, the conference will include: sessions composed of short talks by faculty, students, policymakers, and practitioners describing their work within the Boston civic data ecosystem; a keynote on the big-picture implications of this work; and other programming to facilitate the sharing of ideas. The goal of the event is two-fold: 1) provide a platform to highlight cutting-edge work in the region; and 2) catalyze new connections and synergies across institutions and disciplines.

March 14

BostInno’s Tech Madness Bracket Reveal 2017

This March, BostInno is bringing the tech community together for some healthy competition… bracket-style. The goal of Tech Madness is to generate awareness and excitement for the city’s top tech players, from the “favorites” (late-stage tech pillars) to the “diaper dandies” (seed round startups).

March 15

Reducing Emissions by Pricing Carbon: How Microsoft and Yale are leading the charge

From college campuses to Davos, carbon pricing is a policy instrument regarded by climate scientists, economists, and political and business leaders as an important part of efforts to mitigate global climate change.

We have an exciting panel:

Microsoft’s TJ DiCaprio will explain how in its first four-and-a-half years the company’s carbon pricing program changed the company’s culture, reduced carbon emissions by 9.5 million metric tons, purchased more than 14M MWh of renewable energy, helped reduce energy consumption more than 10% across the Redmond campus, and impacted more than 7 million peoples’ lives in emerging nations. TJ is Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability at Microsoft.

Yale’s Casey Pickett will present the experience and results of the Yale 2015/2016 pilot program and what comes next, following the leadership decision to use the campus as a test bed for carbon pricing. Casey is Director of the Carbon Charge at Yale.

BU’s Kenneth Pucker will discuss effective carbon pricing and organizational behavior based on accurate measurement of climate impacts. Ken is the former COO of Timberland and Lecturer, Organizational Behavior, at the Questrom School of Business.

ProPublica’s Andrew Revkin will moderate. Andy is Senior Reporter on Climate Change at ProPublica and former environmental reporter at The New York Times, where he wrote the Dot Earth Blog.

This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

March 16

Harvard Coop Author Series: Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

The Harvard Coop Author Series Presents: Girl Code

Andrea Gonzales & Sophie Houser

Perfect for aspiring coders everywhere, Girl Code is the story of two teenage tech phenoms who met at Girls Who Code summer camp, teamed up to create a viral video game, and ended up becoming world famous.

March 19

Networking Event for Artists

Inviting local artists: musicians, composers, dancers, choreographers, actors, arts and performance managers, writers, tech people (sound, lighting) engineers, costume designers, visual artists and anyone who is interested in looking for new people to collaborate with, ideas for projects, financial and marketing advice, and sharing their work with others.

March 23

Generation Citizen Trivia for Changemakers

Test your trivia mettle in this exclusive best-of-Boston matchup, pitting teams from Boston’s industries against competitors in their sector to see who can clinch the grand ChangeMaker’s Cup. For a critical cause: every point you earn at Trivia for ChangeMakers will help a local classroom of Generation Citizen young people create change on a pressing community problem.

March 25

HackWITUs

HackWitus is the first student run hackathon at Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT). This is a 24 hour hackathon that will take place on March 25th to March 26th at Wentworth’s Ira Allen Building. This event is made possible thanks to the Wentworth Computer Science Society, a chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery, along with support from many scholastic and administrative departments at WIT, Major League Hacking (MLH), and the generous sponsors that donated towards this event.

2017 Boston Baseball Hack Day

Love creating stuff on your computer and LOVE baseball? Come hack with us on March 25 at General Assembly!

The sixth annual Boston Baseball Hack Day is a fun, friendly one-day hacking competition (also known as hackathon, hackfest or codefest) for baseball fans. It will also be held in three other cities besides Boston: Philadelphia, Montreal, and Chicago.

March 25-26

Printathon 2017

Join us at Brandeis University’s annual Printathon! Organized by Deis3D, Brandeis University’s 3D Printing club, the Printathon challenges you to use creativity, design, and 3D printing skills to solve practical problems. This 24-hour event will be a team competition judged by a panel of industry leaders and technology specialists. We’ll be providing food, tech, and lots of great prizes to win!

March 28

Cafe Night at Roxbury Innovation Center

The monthly Café Nights @ RIC are energetic and dynamic events where innovators and entrepreneurs can find one another and collaborate to bring their dreams to reality.

These regular gatherings provide a space for conversations and scheduled programs to inspire a wide range of attendees from different backgrounds and industries to connect, share ideas, and grow their ventures. The Café is open to all members of the innovation community—stop by to try it out.

Making Memories — A #NERD10 Celebration

We love making memories with you. As part of our #NERD10 anniversary, celebrating the 10 years we’ve been in Cambridge, MA, we headed an Xbox giveaway where our Twitter friends shared their favorite memories at our Microsoft New England R&D Center (NERD)

Some of our favorite memories shared in our #NERD10 Giveaway:

Thank you to all who participated — and congratulations to our winner!

Our #NERD10 celebration isn’t over! Stay posted for upcoming giveaways, events, and more.

MassChallenge Startup Bootcamp Series: Application Due March 1, 2017

Last year, MassChallenge brought its mission to help all entrepreneurs win to South Boston, Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan with an intensive mini-accelerator. Thirteen companies participated in an immersive startup bootcamp with curriculum catered to their individual needs, industry mentors, and access to 24/7 office space. The bootcamp cumulated with a pitch competition where Minus the Moo and BeautyLynk ultimately received two fast-track spots into Round 2 of judging for the 2016 MassChallenge Boston accelerator program.

This year, MassChallenge has partnered with the E.M. Kauffman Foundation to expand the startup bootcamp and provide entrepreneurs and innovators from the Greater Boston Region. This mini-accelerator will once again be dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds.

The startup bootcamp will run over the months of March and April and is open to early-stage, high-impact and high-potential underrepresented entrepreneurs and innovators (Women, minorities, veterans, immigrants, etc…) from the Greater Boston region.

Applications are due on March 1 — Apply here to take part in this opportunity!

Women in Data Science Conference & Pre-Event @NERD: “Hacking Bias Ideation”

On February 2, the Microsoft New England Research & Development (NERD) Center hosted and sponsored the “Hacking Bias & Discrimination Ideation Session,” a precursor to the Harvard-MIT chapter of the Women in Data Science Conference.

This six-hour event was designed to tackle the presence of bias in data science models and algorithms through discussion and brainstorming of the following topics:

  1. Gender Bias in Word Embeddings:  http://www.wordbias.org/
  2. Identifying Gender Bias in Performance Reviews
  3. Neuroinformatics Research Group Understanding Response Bias
  4. Bias in ML algorithms applied to healthcare
  5. Bias in Law Enforcement Predictions
  6. Consumer Protections in a Digital Age
  7. Hiring and Selection Models
  8. Who Has Political Power and How Do You Measure It?

If you’d like to attend an upcoming Hacking Bias and Discrimination event, please consider:

The following day, more than 200 participants attended the Women in Data Science Conference held at NERD. Cathy Chute, Executive Director of the Harvard Institute for Applied Computational Science, and Elizabeth Sikorovsky, Executive Director of the MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society, delivered the opening remarks, followed by Elizabeth Bruce, Microsoft’s University Relations Lead, who presented a summary of the pre-event outcomes. Our very own Jennifer Chayes, Managing Director of Microsoft Research NE & NYC, delivered the keynote presentation, followed by talks from Microsoft Researcher Jennifer Listgarten, MIT professors, and data science industry professionals. Click Here for the conference agenda, abstracts and slides.

A recap video, via Zac Carpman:

RECAP: #CivicTechBos — Broadband Equity

What’s the importance of broadband equity?

Last night, our latest Conversation in Civic Innovation (#CivicTechBos) explored new technologies in broadband, ways to make internet accessible, and the importance behind it all.

Speakers included:

Miss out on our event? Catch up with us on Twitter Moments (below):