July 21, 2015

National Urban League 'hacking' a path to social justice in Fort Lauderdale

Some of the nation’s brightest minds in tech will be working around the clock at the National Urban League 2015 Conference, designing original applications to alleviate the most pressing social issues of our day.

“More and more, the fight for social justice is being waged online,” said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. “The new face of civil rights is young, educated and tech-savvy. And these 21st-Century civil rights defenders are developing the 21st-Century tools they need.”

Hosted by the National Urban League in partnership with Digital Grass, the two-day “TechConnect: Hack-A-Thon for Social Justice,” presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, will take place from 5 pm Thursday, July 30, to 6:30 pm Friday, July 31.

 "Digital Grass is honored to help with civic hacking in our community" Digital Grass Founder and CEO Michael Hall said.  "It's important to not just develop social apps but software and applications that can help with civic innovation and improve the quality of life for our core urban community. This event is the right step in that direction."

TechConnect provides a space for innovators to design original social justice applications, specifically those in tune with this year's Conference theme, “Save Our Cities: Education, Jobs, and Justice.” At least one of the top resulting application/software will be implemented by the Urban League to enhance civic engagement, voting, education equity, housing, health, justice and job creation in urban communities

Developers, designers, civic leaders and creative thinkers are all invited to be among the first to create solutions to Save Our Cities and compete for $2,500 in cash and $25,000 in prizes.

WHAT: “TechConnect: Hack-A-Thon for Social Justice,” to develop innovative and impactful tech solutions to address some of the nation's biggest problems in the areas of public safety, voting, education, jobs, housing or health. 

WHERE: Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd. • Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316

WHEN: Intro and Information will take place July 30; the Hackathon will take place July 31.

COST: Free Entry Fee for Competitors

TO REGISTER:  nultechconnect.digigrass.com

Press release supplied by Digital Grass

 

 

July 17, 2015

Seeing possibility: Entrepreneurs share advice, tools at women's forum

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Trish Costello, founder of Portfolio and co-founder of the Kauffman Fellows Program, discussed ways to fund your company at the International Women’s Forum event in Miami, above.

Dawn Dickson, below, CEO of Flat Out of Heels, attended the International Women’s Forum event and asked a question. Photos by Two Parrot Productions. 

 

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By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

Women-run firms are generating half the revenue of their male counterparts’ firms, and about 30 percent of corporations have no women in senior management.

In the venture capital world, less than 5 percent of VCs are women. Only about 3 percent of venture capital goes to companies with female CEOs, and 85 percent of funded companies have no women on founding teams.

Statistics like these are why organizations such as the International Women’s Forum exist. Supported by the Knight Foundation, the IWF hosted a two-day Executive Development Roundtable in downtown Miami this week to provide leadership training and professional development to women entrepreneurs.

The two-day forum brought in female entrepreneurs who have grown billion-dollar brands and launched venture funds to share advice and secrets of success with about 70 participants, most of whom are running their own businesses in South Florida.

Yet, despite the statistics, the mood in the conference was upbeat and inspiring. The speakers shared war stories, advice, resources, connections — and hope that things are changing. For starters, women now make up more than half of the workforce, and they have also moved higher than men in academic-degree attainment.

On the funding front, trends are moving in women’s favor. For example, angel funding and crowdfunding are exploding (the number of female angels has tripled in three years, for example), and these are platforms that align with the way women operate best, the panelists said. More women are being trained to be VCs in programs such as the Kauffman Fellows program.

“We have power that no women in history have had — that is pretty exciting,” said Trish Costello, investor and founder of Portfolia. “We have to learn from each other.”

Some words of advice from the panelists in Tuesday’s sessions, which included IWF Fellows Costello; Kim Sanchez Rael, founder of Arrah Ventures; Denise Brosseau, co-founder of Springboard; Kay Koplovitz, former chairman of USA Network; Gayle Tauber, co-founder of Kashi; Susan Amat, founder of Miami’s Venture Hive; and Kah Walla, founder of Strategies!:

Assemble an A-team. Investors look at market, technology, business model and team, but every VC will tell you it is really all about the team. Also assemble an advisory board. Everyone needs smart advisors and a really good lawyer, they said, and as you grow, hire slowly, fire fast.

Prioritize. What is the area that is providing the most value for the customer? That is what you focus on scaling.

Get comfortable with the numbers. Read Finance for Non-Financial Managers. Understand your sources of cash on a monthly and quarterly basis. Realize that a highly profitable business is the engine that keeps it going.

Assemble a mastermind group. Meet regularly, at least monthly, with this group of like-minded entrepreneurs in noncompeting companies to share what you’ve learned and bring business problems to the table in a safe space. Strive to combine both experienced and less experienced entrepreneurs and look for different areas of expertise.

The customer is king. You don’t have a business until you have a repeat customer.

Reframe the word “failure”: It’s not a bad thing; it’s a learning experience. You are failing forward.

Form strategic partnerships to get your business going. But keep the terms short so there is no long-term impact.

“You have to love the roller coaster of being an entrepreneur,” said Koplovitz. “I wake up every day and see possibility.”

Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.

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From left, above, Canadian journalist Ann Medina interviews Kay Koplovitz, former chairman and CEO of USA Networks, and Gayle Tauber, who among other endeavors co-founded Kashi Company.

A table of entrepreneurs discusses issues with one of the International Women’s Forum Fellows during a mentoring session. Photos by Two Parrot Productions.

 

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July 14, 2015

Upcoming Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase to award $150K; apply by Sept. 30

Space Florida, Enterprise Development Corporation of South Florida and Florida Venture Forum will co-host the 2015 Emerging Technologies & Business Showcase on Nov. 4 at the Hyatt Regency in Coral Gables.

The Showcase is a capital acceleration competition and business-networking event featuring presentations by some of Florida’s most promising early and mid-stage companies, a keynote address by retired NASA astronaut Capt. Winston Scott, and an investor panel discussion.

Presenting companies compete for cash awards totaling $150,000:

**$100,000 for a Growth Stage Company (To be considered, companies cannot have raised more than $3 million in equity capital from professional investors.)

**$50,000 for a Start-up Company (To be considered, companies cannot have raised more than $500,000 in equity capital from professional investors.)

Presenter applicants will be chosen by a selection committee and selection criteria are available on the Florida Venture Forum website. Selection preference will be given to companies in space transportation and advanced aerospace platforms, satellite systems and science payloads, ground and operations support systems, agriculture, climate/environmental monitoring, civil protection and emergency management, International Space Station and human life science (including medical research), communications, cyber security & robotics, adventure tourism, clean /alternative energy applications, advanced materials and new products, knowledge-based services, information technology and health technology.

Additional event Details and Applications are available on the Florida Venture Forum website.THE FINAL APPLICATION DEADLINE IS SEPT. 30.

- submitted by Florida Venture Forum

 

July 11, 2015

Civic innovation, inclusion should form foundation of ecosystem

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Photos by Dante' D. Fillyau

 

By Nancy Dahlberg / ndahlberg@miamiherald.com

 Is South Florida’s entrepreneurial community an ecosystem or a springboard?

It’s an important question, says Carla Mays, an expert in civic innovation, which is focused on models for nurturing and supporting diverse and inclusive ecosystems. She visited Miami this week from Silicon Valley and participated in a community event on the topic.

A springboard is a place that may be starting to grow an ecosystem but entrepreneurs have to go to Silicon Valley or another ecosystem to get the all the resources they need to grow, she explains. “If you aren’t careful to build an ecosystem where there are connections to capital and resources … you are not creating something here, you are creating something that helps the Valley. That’s the brain drain.”

Mays runs Mays Civic Innovation and has launched programs, think tanks and innovation labs in civic and social innovation, entrepreneurship and funding. Joining her on the panel last week were South Floridians Matt Haggman, Miami program director of the Knight Foundation; Pandwe Gibson, founder of EcoTech Visions; Armando Ibarra, a public affairs and corporate development executive; and Michael Hall, founder of Digital Grass, a South Florida organization aimed at promoting a diverse ecosystem.

In the packed event room at the LAB Miami on Wednesday night, Haggman said he sees a young ecosystem, not a springboard. We have places to network, to get mentorship, to secure funding and to find talent, said Haggman, who has spearheaded Knight’s focus on entrepreneurship the past three years.

Yet, there is much work still to do, he said, and much of the conversation at the event was focused on building an ecosystem for all of South Florida, well beyond Miami’s urban core. That includes examining how we do civic innovation in a way that the whole community benefits.

Some broad themes tackled:

Economic development needs rethinking. “It’s not about big business attraction, it’s about nurturing entrepreneurship,” said Mays. And that means making sure the playing field is level when it comes to acquiring skills to participate in the innovation economy. “We have to bridge the knowledge divide as well as the capital divide. That includes providing hacker spaces in underserved neighborhoods.”

Build on South Florida’s unique assets: Gibson said before opening EcoTech Visions, an incubator for green manufacturing companies, her team inventoried the area it would service in order to build the right toolset for entrepreneurs. That also means aligning programs and goals with geography, industries and areas of expertise South Florida is already strong at, Ibarra said. Bigger picture: Creating a startup ecosystem built on civic innovation is also about solving the problems of our economy, such as lack of affordable housing and urban mobility as well as education, he added.

Think beyond the VC world: Whether it’s funding for individual companies or the organizations that support them, the reality in civic innovation, Mays said, is that funding, particularly the first money, is most likely to come from public sources such as government and economic development partnerships, foundations like Knight and corporations. This money can also fund things like office space, hacker space and computers loaded with cloud tools — “this is what we mean about a level playing field,” Mays said

The co-operative model can work in civic innovation: While it hasn’t taken off in Miami yet, co-ops have been quite successful in California and work very well in communities with people of color where you are taking care of serious gaps, Mays said. Lending circles, food enterprises and legal services as a few examples where co-ops can work well.

Procurement processes need a rethink: Processes and regulations need to be integrated with the innovation economy, said Ibarra, and that means updating our laws and our institutions to make them more relevant.

Educating our youth means reaching deep into the communities: “Our best entrepreneurs are our troubled youth. They are very entrepreneurial. We need to reach them in their own communities and provide them with guidance … and beef up entrepreneurship education in schools,” Mays said. “The new model is not us telling them, it is them telling us and we getting the resources in place.”

The next day Mays visited the Idea Center at Miami Dade College and heard some of the companies in the incubator CREATE pitch. She was impressed with the companies and with the Idea Center’s programs for lean startups and design thinking. She also visited with the Beacon Council, Rokk3r Labs and EcoTech Visions.

PanelphotoDavid Capelli of TECH Miami, who met Mays at a conference in California earlier this year and helped organize this event with Digital Grass, said events like this will continue. Audience members were also encouraged to continue the conversation on  Ideatrr.com. “It takes all of us to get out of the silos and start tackling the problems and being honest and transparent because innovation is the system of human networks,” said Capelli.

Entrepreneurship is in Miami’s DNA and diversity is our greatest asset, said Haggman. By continuing to have this conversation we can avoid the mistakes of the Valley, he said, referring to the horrible diversity numbers we’ve been hearing about at Valley tech companies.

Said Mays: “You can be the model for doing it right.”

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

 

 

July 06, 2015

Miller Lite Tap the Future pitch event with Daymond John returns to Miami Beach Tuesday

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The Miller Lite Tap the Future business plan competition is back for its third year, returning to Miami Beach and other U.S. cities for its Live Pitch Event tour.

Next week, five semifinalists from the Southeast will pitch in front of a live audience for a chance to win $20,000 and a chance to compete for a $200,000 grand prize. The entrepreneurs will be judged and receive feedback from Daymond John from ABC’s Shark Tank and others.

The event on Tuesday July 7 evening at The Fillmore Miami Beach is open to consumers 21 and older who RSVP at www.MLTapTheFuture.com/events. Three randomly selected entrepreneurs in the audience will get the chance to deliver a one-minute business pitch and receive judges’ feedback. The best impromptu pitch will $500.

“Having done my fair share of business pitching and evaluating the pitches of others, I’ve gathered a lot of expertise in this area that I always like passing along to the emerging entrepreneurs in this competition,” said Daymond John, investor, author and business mogul. “The Miller Lite Tap the Future program is a great learning experience for the contestants where they practice the art of pitching to an investor, networking and putting together a solid business plan. It’s also a great launching pad for the winning businesses, as the grants are given free and clear. Miller Lite takes no equity from the companies, which is a big deal for entrepreneurs.”

 

June 27, 2015

Refresh Miami's startup series kicks off with design thinking deep dive

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Refresh Miami’s summer startup series kicked off with a partnership with Design Thinking Miami, a nonprofit that offers educational and community-building events centered around the creative problem-solving methodology. The Refresh event was just one of three parts to the design thinking theme — there was also a happy hour networker on Friday and a full day boot camp on Saturday. Refresh Miami’s startup series will follow with events on funding and launching and end with a demo day in September, said Peter Martinez, co-director of Refresh.

Startups and students — I was sitting with a row of interns from AdMobilize — packed the Miami Science Museum to hear Andy Hagerman, co-founder of The Design Gym, a New York City-based creative education company launched about three years ago “to empower people and organizations to create change.” He said what he has found is that a lot of organizations say they are innovative companies but they don’t really know what that means on a daily basis.

Through his talk and exercises with the audience, he briefly explained the stages of design thinking — examine, understand, ideate, experiment and distill — and how the methodology can be especially helpful to startups that need to get to market very quickly.

First off, understand you are not the smartest person in the room; design thinking is about learning about your customers’ wants and needs first-hand. Exercises in brainstorming and interviewing techniques asking open-ended question helped the audience understand some of the principles. Just the use of “yes, and” instead of “yes, but” can help get the ideas flowing, he said. There are places in the design thinking process for the “yes, but” people, but that comes much later in the process – in the close. “It’s about putting structure into the process… When the team says now it is time to close, that’s when you start bringing it in,” he said.

The design thinking process can last hours, months or even years; the important thing is to put the process in a time box, whatever the time line might be.

One of The Design Gym’s initiatives: Design Taco, a pop-up taco shop. Turns out the tacos and beer were just the bait to get different groups mixing it up.

Design Thinking Miami, founded by Jessica Do and Mariana Rego, holds regular meetups and workshops. Find out more at Design Thinking Miami.

 

June 25, 2015

Conference seeks to bridge technology gap between Caribbean, Miami

By Molly Duffy

Entrepreneurs and businesspeople from Caribbean and African nations encouraged each other to drive the technological change their countries need at Miami Caribbean Code’s first Regional Tech Summit on Thursday in the Design District.

“Technology is just a thing that should be there to help us solve social problems, solve market problems, solve market demand needs,” said Natalie Cofield, president and CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, during her keynote speech. She urged attendees to invest in their home countries and then “go home and do business.”

“If we don’t believe in our community enough to go back in and create a solution for them,” she said, “we’ll be upset that somebody else came and did.”

Billions of dollars travel from the U.S. to the Caribbean and Africa, Cofield said. “So why can’t it flow on distribution channels that are created by the very people who are putting billions into the system?”

The conference was designed to highlight the need for technology advances in the Caribbean, said Eveline Pierre, co-founder of Miami Caribbean Code, dedicated to bridging the technological gap between the Caribbean and Miami. About 75 attended.

Technology can address a myriad of problems — including government accountability, access to education, energy security and public health access — facing both South Florida and the Caribbean, said Brian Fonseca, director of operations for the Applied Research Center at Florida International University.

“The Caribbean has suffered for a long time from constant brain drain. Intellectuals leave the Caribbean and move into markets that have better quality of life. And that’s just sad because we lose this intellectual power that we should be sustaining in our own communities,” Fonseca said.

Panelists throughout the day discussed technology’s influence on education, social impact, connectivity and economies. Addressing the problems in these areas begins with more access to technologies, panelists said.

“We have not spoken about new technology that does not exist in the world,” said Nehama Bikovsky, president of Maritime Consulting Enterprise. “However, when we go to the Caribbean, oftentimes we see that this not-amazing-anymore technology is still not there.”

As some technology reaches Cuba, Jason Ibarra, chapter director of Startup Grind Miami, cautioned attendees to “be a little cynical” about the rate of progress there. Despite growing Internet access, costs are still relatively astronomical, he said.

“I spend personally about 1 percent of my income on broadband Internet,” Ibarra said. “If [Cuban citizens] spent 1 percent on broadband Internet, they would have 10 minutes a month.”

Jack Dorsey joins SBA talk about payment technology

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Payment technology may not be a topic that would draw a small-business crowd -- except when the speaker is Square CEO (and interim Twitter CEO) Jack Dorsey.

Dorsey, co-founder of one of the world's leading payment technology companies,  joined U.S. SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet in a free public event Thursday morning held at the  FIU College of Architecture + The Arts Miami Beach Urban Studios and sponsored by Rokk3r Labs. The objective: to get out the word about major changes in payment security coming Oct. 1 and how small businesses can prepare. 

"Sixty-eight percent of small business have been hacked, they have been victims of cyber security fraud," said Contreras-Sweet. "Effective Oct. 1, the credit card companies say you need the chip reader because they are changing the security. We want to get the word out."

Dorsey demonstrated the present technology and why hacks have been relatively easy and explained what is involved in making the switch.

The bottom line, he told small businesses: Now, if you run a fraudulent card, banks absorb the costs. Starting in October, if someone pays with a fraudulent chip card, and you’re not set up with the new authenticated payment devices (whether it is Square's or one of its competitors) after Oct. 1, "you will be on the hook for fraudulent transactions. The banks won't have your back."

"Technology doesn't have to be complicated, it doesn't have to be inaccessible, it should be something that just works" he continued. "Our industry hasn't moved fast enough in pushing this so we are working with the SBA to make sure first and foremost sellers know this is coming and there are a string of solutions to address this, Square is just one. ...  The important thing is bringing more security, more safety to transactions." 

Dorsey grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, and co-founded Square with Jim McKelvey, now a Miami resident and founder of the LaunchCode apprenticeship program. Dorsey also shared some stories about growing up with entrepreneurship -- his father started a pizza restaurant and his mother later ran a coffee store.

What he's learned: "Entrepreneurs are not necessarily born with these skills, they have a do whatever it takes attitude to learn what they need to get to the next step and then there is a new challenge. I never had dreams of being a CEO, I had dreams of getting the world communicating in a very free and empowering way."

As for founding Square in 2009 in San Francisco, Dorsey said he hated the cumbersome credit card system and said he saw how it could destroy families. You have to ask the questions, why is it this way and then go after the answers, he said. "Our purpose at Square is to make commerce easy."

The co-founder of two of the most well-known tech companies in the world also told the mostly small-business audience: “The choice to stay small is just as admirable as the choice to go global.”

Dorsey said he is particularly proud of a couple of stats about Square and the companies Square serves: Fifty-six 56 percent of the small businesses who use Square are owned and run by women, and 75 percent of Square’s employees report to three women in the executive ranks.

Contreras-Sweet, a former banker, shared some information about SBA programs and products,  including the new LINC on sba.gov that eliminates the need to fill out dozens of loan applications. When you enter answers to 20 questions online, banks will get back to you within 48 hours with what they can offer, she said.  

Near the end of the program, Contreras-Sweet and Dorsey brought up four local small businesses to briefly share their stories: Panther Coffee, LuLu's Ice Cream, Sugar Yummy Mama and Wynwood Warehouse Project.

 

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Sorry, no talk about retaking the reins at Twitter or if/when Square may go public.

 Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

 

June 20, 2015

Beyond selfies: Social Media Day South Florida returning June 28

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Did you know Miami is No. 3 in the world for selfies? Alex de Carvalho shared this Magic City claim to fame and other facts, figures and advice about social media -- in which a third of the world is now participating in -- at a recent talk he gave to the Miami Herald Media Company earlier this week.

Want more about the present and future of social media and how better to use it in your business? You’ll  have to go to Social Media Day South Florida on Sunday, June 28, with a full afternoon of talks planned, ending with a sunset cocktail hour. The event takes place from noon to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale.

Here’s more about the event from de Carvalho’s press release:

Popularized by Mashable, Social Media Day is an international celebration of digital media that attracts thousands to events around the world. Social Media Day South Florida was one of the first of these global meet-ups to take a conference-style approach. Attendees will learn from expert speakers on digital media trends, discover career opportunities and network with the region’s brightest digital media minds. 

Noted as one of the top Social Media Day events, the South Florida gathering is celebrating its fifth year.  “There is a groundswell of digital media activity and expertise in South Florida. This is not just a celebration of social media in South Florida; it is a valuable opportunity for learning, networking and recruitment,” said de Carvalho, Knight Innovator in Residence at FIU School of Journalism and Mass Communication and President of Social Media Club South Florida.

This year’s keynote address will be provided by Adam Boalt, CEO of LiveAnswer. Based out of Pipeline Brickell, LiveAnswer is one of South Florida’s fastest growing startups and a shining example of the region’s prowess in digital innovation.  While Boalt will be discussing the future of the digital media landscape, his company LiveAnswer also sees Social Media Day South Florida as a valuable opportunity for talent recruitment. “As South Florida grows its identity as a home for experts in social and digital technology and trends, Social Media Day South Florida is a platform to share our individual expertise while building our collective knowledge base,” said Boalt.

 For instance, LiveAnswer has partnered with Enrique Iglesias’ Atlantico Rum to develop a VIP experience centered on talent recruitment. Those who apply to become LiveAnswer’s newest “Marketing Rockstar” will gain two access passes to the Atlantico Rum VIP Suite during Social Media Day.

Other topics include branding (personal and company), SEO trends, tweeting responsibly, building a blogging network and getting the most from the various platforms. Presentations and panel discussion topics can be viewed here: www.smdaysf.com/agenda.

Social Media Day South Florida is co-organized by local social media leaders and influencers Blanca Stella Mejia and Karl Nybergh. The event is being sponsored by LiveAnswer, Lift Digital Media and Ford en Español.

Those looking to join the online conversation can do so here:

Twitter: @SMDAYSFL

Instagram: @SMDAYSFL 

Facebook: SMDAYSFL

For more information on Social Media Day South Florida and tickets, which cost $33 in advance or $48 at the door, visit www.smdaysf.com.

 

June 07, 2015

Miami joins global event focused on government innovation

 

By Ezequiel Williams

 This year Miami will join the Global GovJam, a global workshop focused on making government more innovative and user-friendly, for the first time. On June 10 - 11 Miami GovJam participants will join people in 37 other cities around the world in a global event aimed at teaching and practicing innovation techniques to government workers and people passionate about civic life.

The GovJam movement started in Canberra, Australia in 2012 with a group of 80 people. In the months that followed the same people were inspired to scope or launch over a dozen innovative public projects as a result of the event. In 2013 innovation consultants Markus Hormess and Adam Lawrence of WorkPlayExperience took the event global, bringing close to 30 cities on board. The Global GovJam is now a growing, volunteer-run event aimed at bringing together people around the world to learn innovative problem-solving skills and techniques aimed at making government services more responsive and user-friendly.

In the past two years the the GovJam has attracted several senior civil servants, city mayors, the head of the UK’s Cabinet Office Policy Lab, and the Australian Federal Minister (assisting) for industry, innovation and tertiary education. The Australian government has since used the event format for training and policy development. The 2013 Paris GovJam took place in the office of the Prime Minister of France.

The Miami GovJam offers local government workers and other professionals the opportunity to learn and practice design thinking techniques applicable to government in a hands-on, project-driven workshop. Participants, also known as GovJammers, will work in small teams around a common design theme for the purpose of conceiving, designing, and prototyping a new public service that is responsive and user-friendly. Jammers will publish short videos of their prototypes on the Global GovJam website under a Creative Commons license to widely share their projects.

Design thinking is a method of creative problem solving that focuses on creating innovative solutions that are user-friendly, efficient, and responsive to people’s real needs. This approach has gained significant traction in the private, public, and education sectors in the last decade. The government in the United Kingdom routinely uses design thinking for problem-solving, and Australia's Taxation Office, their equivalent to the IRS, has successfully employed design thinking to maker their services more accessible and user-friendly for its constituents. Several U.S. Federal Government agencies have begun to incorporate design thinking in their work in the past five years, including the Department of Defense, Homeland Security, FEMA, and Veterans Affairs.

Far from being a novelty, organizations that are serious about employing design thinking at the core of their operations show substantial positive results. The Design Management Institute, with funding from Microsoft, is tracking the performance of U.S. companies that employ design thinking at the core of their business strategy. Results show that companies like Apple, Target, IBM, Coca-Cola and other design-centric companies have outperformed the S&P 500 by as much as 219% in the last 10 years.   

Employing design thinking practices in local government in Miami could yield tangible results in terms of cost reduction, increased customer satisfaction and revenues. The Miami GovJam will offer Miamians a chance to get connected with a global community, learn design thinking tools and methods, build their creative confidence, network with colleagues from other governments and agencies, and sharpen their ability to innovate and make a measurable difference in the public sector.  

The Miami GovJam volunteer hosts are Siggi Bachmann, Creative Director of the New World Symphony, Vassoula Vassiliou, branding consultant and President of the AIGA, and Ezequiel Williams, co-founder and Chief Insights Officer of Contexto, a service design and innovation consultancy.

The Miami GovJam starts at 8:00 AM on June 10th at the Wynwood Warehouse Project. To learn more about or register for the event, visit www.miamigovjam.com or follow it on Twitter @MiamiJams #GGovJam.

Ezequiel Williams is an entrepreneur, business designer, and co-founder of Contexto. You can connect with him on Twitter @ContextoTweets.

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L.A. GovJammers testing prototypes with citizens on the street. Photo courtesy of Global GovJam