Category Archives: Uncategorized

Memphis Music Initiative

The Memphis Music Initiative (MMI) is attempting to make a difference in the lives of poor Memphian students. On their website, MMI explains that “research demonstrates the important role music-engagement focused youth development activities can play in giving youth the skills, attitudes, and behaviors they need to overcome barriers and succeed in school and life”. In increasing the role of music in youth development, MMI improves the quality of life for Memphian students. MMI involves, collaborates with, and empowers Memphis communities. The organization takes open applications to serve as music mentors and also provides opportunities to be an advocate for the community. They write on their website: “Community input is critical to our initiative’s success as community engagement and ownership were core to the development of our approach and communities can create innovative solutions to the city’s toughest challenges”.

OD Help

by Ryan King

This is a type of application “OD Help” I researched that is not quite ready yet, however very interesting and could save lives once it reaches widespread adoption and use. The application is aimed at making Narcan, (generic name Naloxone) to heroin users that are overdosing. It can even be attached to a breathing monitor and alert authorities/assistance when a user is overdosing. They hope to launch it very soon and just received another 40,000 in funding. Hopefully, this app or something like it will save the lives of many and help us deal with the Opioid epidemic. click here to learn more.

Shot Spotter

by Ryan King

Here is an example of an effective community engagement tool that is saving lives. The shot spotter is a microphone type device that can detect and triangulate gunfire. Police can arrive within minutes to the exact location of the gunfire, either to deal with the threat or collect evidence such as shell casings.

The spotter is a truly revolutionary device, and although it is not suited to every single community, many cities including Milwaukee and Chicago. North Carolina towns include Goldsboro and Rocky Mount. click here to learn more.

Community Members and Organizations as Partners

The Contra Costa Health Services (CCHS) Developmental Disabilities Council is worth pointing out as an example of what happens when community members and organizations engage the community as partners. The council is a voluntary advisory group that is comprised of families, service providers, clients, and advocates for the disabled. Chaired by a community member, it advises advocates for the needs of the disabled in the community. In 2002, when the state was considering budget cuts for disabled services, the Council rallied the disabled community against the proposed cuts and was able to restore funding for those programs (pg. 6).

Read more below:

PredPol (The Predictive Policing Company)

PredPol was created from a research project between the Los Angeles Police Department and UCLA. The chief of the department at the time, Bill Bratton, wanted to use the computer statistic data that was on hand for more than historical purposes. He wanted a type of software that could forecast potential crime locations so law enforcement could be better prepared. Since then, this research project has been shaped into a forecasting tool for several police departments in the United States and aboard. PredPol focuses on three data points in making predictions: past type of crime, place of crime and time of crime. There is no personal information about individuals or groups of individuals in the software. PredPol’s information can be accessed on any tech device and can be printed on paper. Additionally, it requires no new hardware or additional technical staff to run the software. This software is innovative because it is a forecasting tool for crime. It tells officers what type of crime is most likely to occur and where it may occur. This makes officers’s jobs a little bit easier since they can be more effective with preventing and stopping crime. Moreover, this software is easily accessible and does not take much training to use. So, new officers can learn this software really quickly. This is definitely a game changer for law enforcement. The only downside is since this software is expensive, not all police departments can afford it, which may deter some departments from making the purchase. However, this is definitely worth the investment.

PredPol pushes for law enforcement to engage the community that are in the predictive areas and tell their citizens that they are using PredPol. The Los Angeles’ Police Department has used PredPol to build lasting relationships between community residents and officers so more residents are willing to report a crime if they see one happening. Through this technology, trust has been built between community residents and police officers. More and more community residents are starting to understand that law enforcement needs their help in order to keep them safe. But this would not have happened unless trust was established.

For more information about PredPol, visit their website

Wave App,
Send money with love. Wave is an App that enables Kenyan, Ethiopian, and Ugandan communities living in the US, UK, and Canada to send instant money, no fee transfers to East Africa. One can send money just like a text. It is safe and secure.
Wave charges no fees to send money and displays live price comparisons to competitors in the app like MoneyGram, and Western Union.
Our users love Wave…
• “Thanks guys. You are simply the best. MoneyGram and Western Union are out of business! This is the real deal for the common man.”

• “Wave has been a lifesaver! The beautiful thing is the convenience — I can send money in difficult situations and to the most remote areas of Kenya.”

• “I’m glad it’s such a simple process. My family confirmed receipt. I think this is the best service for Kenyans in the US and I will spread the good news all over the States”. Margaret Kamba
• “This is the most useful app on my phone! It allows me to effortlessly touch the lives of those who matter most to me.”




The Engagement Lab

The city of Boston became a pioneer in city engagement in the digital age with their creation of the Citizens Connect application. However, in 2007, the city of Boston—widely viewed as a pioneer with technological citizen engagement—found they were not connecting with the amount of citizens they thought through their app. The chief of staff of Mayor Thomas Mennino’s administration approached Nigel Jacob to find creative ways in which to engage the Boston citizens. Jacob, in turn, approached Professor Eric Gordon of Emerson College to find a solution to the lack of engagement through the Citizens Connect app. Professor Gordon and Mr. Jacob began a relationship which led to the creation of the Engagement Lab. The Engagement Lab-in conjunction with the city of Boston-began life as the Engagement Gaming Lab and developed a game to engage the residents of Boston’s Chinatown to help plan their neighborhood in 2011 with some initial funding provided by the MacArthur Foundation and the Knight Foundation. The initial concept for the Engagement Gaming Lab was as a collaborative urban planning tool to allow the citizens to engage with city planners for a Boston that included more citizens input for development. “Using virtual co-presence and enhanced archivability of conversation…” Professor Gordon established Hub2 designed to engage citizens in the planning of their community. Hub2 helped the city of Boston re-plan their Government Center, helped in the planning of a collaborative production community park, and helped uncover challenges related to bringing technology into civic engagement.

While the initial focus of the lab was in using gaming to engage citizens, the focus shifted from how games can impact democracy to how emerging technologies can effectively engage in democratic processes. In 2014, the Engagement Gaming Lab changed its name to the Engagement Lab and now seeks ways to more fully engage the citizens of communities throughout the world to foster a civic culture. The Engagement Lab is now an interdisciplinary lab designed to “co-invent civic life in a networked age.” The Engagement Lab grew from its initial focus on Boston to help cities in the U.S., such as Detroit and Philadelphia, to cities in countries like Bhutan, Ghana, and Egypt.[1]

[1] (Unknown n.d.)

Unknown. Elab at Emerson College. n.d. (accessed May 10, 2017).