Past Events


Event Date(s): 
November 17, 2006

The Sunlight Foundation invited Aspiration to design and facilitate the agenda for their first-ever Open(Data)/Open[Gov] meeting. The event, co-hosted by the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, brought together a diverse group of 60 practitioners focused on various aspects of making government data more open to citizens. The group spent the day wrestling with the challenges and opportunities facing activists and technologists working to open up and demystify publicly available data for the average web users. Sessions addressed how to create successful developer networks, how to facilitate open exchange between Congress and citizens, and a look at various APIs, microformats and possible mashups. Also addressed were gaps in existing data sets, sustainable business models for this type of work, and the unintended consequences of transparency.

FLOSS Usability Sprint III

Event Date(s): 
October 27, 2006 to October 29, 2006

Aspiration and Blue Oxen co-organized FLOSS Usability Sprint III, which took place October 27-29, 2006 at Google in Mountain View, California. Many thanks to Leslie Hawthorn, Rick Boardman and Google for hosting the event!

Programmers, usability practitioners, project managers, and users gathered to discuss methodologies for improving the usability of Free/Libre/Open Source Software (FLOSS) and to apply those processes towards specific projects. The goals were two-fold: To improve the usability of the participating projects, and to catalyze greater shared understanding and ongoing collaboration between the usability and open source communities. Aspiration’s own Social Source Commons platform was one of the focal projects, along with Drupal, HyperScope, Socialtext Open and Sustainable Civil Society.

For complete info about the proceedings see To see pictures from the event click here.

California eAdvocacy Training Road Show II

Event Date(s): 
September 25, 2006 to September 28, 2006

Aspiration took its open eAdvocacy curriculum back on the road to nonprofits in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The two-day “Web Sites For Advocacy and Community Organizing: Basics, Essentials, and Best Practices” training covers web essentials, development process, design essentials, developing web strategy, as well as best practices for privacy, and security. The trainings were designed to enable grassroots nonprofits to learn effective process and tactics in using email in their campaigns and strategic work. The training materials have been prepared by Aspiration in partnership with Radical Designs, and funded by the Community Technology Foundation of California. All materials are being distributed under Creative Commons license.

AdvocacyDev III

Event Date(s): 
July 31, 2006 to August 2, 2006

Aspiration was delighted to host AdvocacyDev III from July 31 to August 2 in Oakland, California. The third annual convening of developers, organizers, and activists working with open source tools for online activism brought together 45 practitioners for discussion, collaboration, and trainings. Proceedings were logged on the AdvocacyDev wiki. Electric Embers hosted their second annual Most Excellent AdvocacyDev Veggie-Friendly BBQ Shindig Sessions included...

  • Show and tell on all the latest open source eAdvocacy platforms and tools, including the latest from CivicSpace/CiviCRM, Radical Designs Activist Mobilization Platform (AMP), GoodStorm, and others.
  • ScoutSeven's DotOrganize project, and the findings of their research on needs and gaps in nonprofit eAdvocacy and database capabilities.
  • MobileVoter shared the latest in Cell phone/SMS organizing techniques, and joined in discussion on how to better integrate SMS support into open source eAdvocacy tools.
  • PICnet demo'd their brand-new NonprofitSoapbox platform, which integrates other open source tools and platforms.
  • Emerging technologies: Discussions of the role of VOIP and the Asterisk platform, and How-To's on activist blogging.
  • Prototyping new advocacy tools: Using Ruby on Rails to do rapid web development.
  • Building and configuring CivicSpace/CiviCRM sites
  • In-depth Drupal development session: Module development and theming
  • Business Development: How to pay the bills and work on advocacy development projects)
  • eAdvocacy Capacity Building: What trainings, documentation and knowledge sharing is necessary to grow the pool of practitioners in the eAdvocacy space. What is needed to better empower local organizers with local causes to use these tools?
  • Open standards and open API's (Application Programmer Interfaces) for eAdvocacy: what's needed to allow better data sharing, pooling of legislative and other public data, and enable feature interoperability between platforms? What eAdvocacy “mashups” are useful and possible?
  • Email Deliverability: While features and functionality of open source advocacy platforms continue to grow, deliverability of associated email blasts continues to decrease as service providers raise spam barriers and network neutrality is threatened.
  • Usability: how can online activist tools be made friendlier and more accessible for organizers and activists?
  • Trainings and skillshares on various platforms, tactics, and techniques.

The event took place at East Bay Community Foundation Conference Center in Downtown Oakland.

Open Curriculum Convergence

Event Date(s): 
June 12, 2006 to June 13, 2006

Aspiration provided facilitation at this convening of open curriculum practitioners. The goal of the gathering was to discuss better approaches to peer production and collaborative development in the open curriculum space. This initial meeting allowed participants to share perspectives why they care about open curriculum, to map out what’s working and what’s not, posit visions and plans for open curriculum efforts, and zoom in on common ideas.

California eAdvocacy Training Road Show

Event Date(s): 
May 16, 2006 to May 19, 2006

Aspiration took its open eAdvocacy curriculum on the road to nonprofits all over California for a week of trainings in Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. The one-day “Email For Advocacy and Community Organizing: Basics, Essentials, and Best Practices” training covers email campaigns, how to write effective email campaign messages, tracking open rates and responses, how to manage and sustain email lists, as well as best practices for privacy, security, and avoiding “spammer” status. The trainings were designed to enable grassroots nonprofits to learn effective process and tactics in using email in their campaigns and strategic work. The training materials have been prepared by Aspiration in partnership with Radical Designs and ScoutSeven, and funded by the Community Technology Foundation of California. All materials are being distributed under Creative Commons license.

LiveWire Summit

Event Date(s): 
April 20, 2006 to April 21, 2006

This two-day meeting, convened in partnership with SourceWatch , brought together a broad range of strategists, organizers and implementors working in online strategy and advocacy. Participants included staff and allies from SourceWatch, True Majority, Radical Designs, Democracy in Action, CitizenSpeak, Scout Seven, Greenpeace, Ruckus Society, SEIU, and others who met to discuss how to better get online activism tools into the hands of local activists. A range of capacity building concepts were brainstormed and discussed, from documentation to mentoring to turnkey services.

Shuttleworth Foundation Kusasa Project Sprint

Event Date(s): 
April 11, 2006 to April 13, 2006

Aspiration designed the agenda and facilitated this convening of educators and technologists meeting to discuss new approaches to teaching analytical skills through computer programming in the South African educational context. The goal was to consider how to develop a self taught, peer mentored program, which can be effectively evaluated without expert supervision, and to provide tools for analysis that will be general useful across the range of disciplines being taught at any given age. A range of leading thinkers, including Alan Kay, Guido Van Rossum, and Mark Shuttleworth, and a range of practitioners in computer software instruction met for 2 days to collaboratively advise the Foundation on project scope and direction.

Penguin Day Seattle

Event Date(s): 
March 25, 2006

Penguin Day Seattle took place on March 25th in downtown Seattle. Almost 90 participants joined in the festivities, which included a rich agenda. News Forge provided some excellent coverage and Deborah Elizabeth Finn offered a wonderful blog entry as well. Penguin Day Seattle pictures are posted on Flickr. The mischief makers over at PICnet also perpetrated a little pre-PD mischief. To stay informed about Penguin Day’s, join the mailing list at We’re in the planning stages for inaugural Penguin Days in Boston and Washington DC, and well as the second PD San Francisco.

Innovation Funders Network Summit

Event Date(s): 
January 30, 2006 to January 31, 2006

The Innovation Funders Network 2006 Summit took place in San Francisco on January 30th & 31st. Aspiration was honored and delighted to direct the agenda and oversee event facilitation.

The event convened funders, invited affiliate organizations and thought leaders from around the world at Wharton West in San Francisco to explore the role of innovation and networks in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Over 100 participants, coming from a range of perspectives and experiences, discussed challenges and opportunities across the fast-changing landscape of innovation funding.

Over the past decade, the emergence of the internet, cellular phones and other innovations in Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) has brought about profound social and economic change. We are now living in a networked society. These networks provide new ways to collaborate, express ourselves politically and culturally, address social and economic issues, and build local and global communities. The event addressed a range of topics, including:

  • the use of ICTs in recent humanitarian relief efforts, online advocacy, community Internet, telecentres and community technology centers.
  • innovative uses of networks to deliver social and humanitarian services, advocate policy positions, communicate with constituents and the media, build collaborations and raise funds.
  • How do we ensure access? How do we equitably distribute benefits enabled by these networks? How do we foster innovation communities within the social sectors? How do we scale these innovations across issue areas and geographic regions?
  • different funding models including traditional and corporate philanthropy, social venture, peer to peer investing, online fundraising, microfinance. We will explore the use of these networks to foster collaboration amongst funders.

See the Innovation Funders Network site for complete details.


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