Technology & Democracy Workshop: Programming the Phone


Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 4:00pm to 7:00pm


Ash Center Conference Room, 124 Mount Auburn Street, Suite 200N, Room 226

Join Aaron Ogle, Ash Technology and Democracy Fellow, Director of Product for The OpenGov Foundation; the DC-based organization transforming how Congress engages with constituents, for a hands-on workshop.

In this session, participants will discuss how government, specifically Congress, is adopting this technology as a new way to communicate with constituents. They will also get their hands dirty building simple applications that make phone calls and send text messages using the same technology employed by major companies like Lyft and Netflix, advocacy groups, and now the public sector.

Specifically, participants will learn:

  • A basic understanding of the Twilio platform.
  • How to build simple JavaScript applications that handle phone calls and text messages.

Dinner will be provided.

Registration is required! You can register online here. 

Things to Bring: Please sign up for a free account and a free account, and bring a charged laptop.

Aaron OgleAbout Aaron Ogle

A recovering software engineer, Aaron Ogle is a technology director who has been building and managing high quality software projects for 15 years. He loves using technology to address big, important problems in ways that meet the needs of people and strengthen the fabric of our communities and institutions. This is undergirded by his belief that our vocations can and should be used to build for a better world.

He is currently the Director of Product for the OpenGov Foundation, a nonprofit that builds and advocates to get better technology for those public servants in the United States Congress and our nation’s other legislatures. He is leading the development of a platform that helps Congress manage the deluge of constituent phone calls and help them meaningfully engage with and respond to the public at scale. He is also overseeing an in-depth, human-centered user research study that dives deep into the tools, processes, and human factors that shape the day-to-day work of a Congressional office.

He was formerly the Director of Civic Technology for the City of Philadelphia where he built and directed the team that is redesigning to be simple, crisp, respectful, and delightful. Prior to joining the City, Aaron was CTO of OpenPlans, a non-profit that built open-source software for cities, primarily focused on urban planning and community engagement. He was also an inaugural fellow with Code for America.

He also loves the outdoors, family, and being real. And pickles.

While a fellow with the Ash Center, he will work with Harvard researchers to study and baseline the effectiveness of constituent engagement. Baselining the current state of constituent engagement can provide the community with specific metrics that can help us articulate the problems, incentivize member offices to action, and measure progress and impact.

Follow Aaron on Twitter: @atogle

The Ash Center's Technology and Democracy Workshop Series are hands-on, cocurricular events designed to help HKS students develop real-world technology skills. Led by a network of technology practitioners, participants spend 3 hours working together and with the workshop leader to learn how to apply technical skills to impact real-word scenarios.