The Question: In what ways can we use technology (specifically, a mobile app for legal services triage) to increase and expand access to justice?
The Plan: We will brainstorm features, design workflows, and troubleshoot possible issues for a mobile app focused on the triage stage of legal services. We envision an app with both “passive” features (that provide basic legal information) as well as “active” features (that receive and manage prospective litigants’ information for intake by legal service providers).
The Co-Sponsors: Researchers: Naomi Campbell, Caroline Cox, Sarah Guerrero, Samuel Reese, Aubrey Sparks & Elizabeth Tuttle (as part of the Justice Lab of the Systemic Justice Project)
The Time and Place: Tuesday, March 22, 2016, 7-9pm – Berkman Center Conference Room
Workshop: March 30, 5-7pm: The Pipeline Problem in Computer Science (RSVP)
Workshop: April 6, 5-7pm: Internet Monitor Workshop (RSVP)
Speaker: April 11, noon-1pm: Online Violence Against Women & Emerging Legal Protections: A Conversation with Congresswoman Katherine Clark (RSVP)
Workshop: April 13, 5-7pm: Women’s Law Association/Lumen (RSVP)
Workshop: April 20: metaLab: future of email (RSVP)
What is DPSI?
Smartphones, smartwatches, and even smart drones… new technologies are so rapidly integrated into everyday life that it is sometimes difficult to pause and take note of their potentials and pitfalls. We want to hit the pause button to ask questions, discuss, and even solve the problems that are sometimes overlooked in the rapidly growing technology and cyberspace sphere. As we question, let’s make things, reflect on how we made them, and learn from the process itself. We are the Berkman Center’s Digital Problem-Solving Initiative.
In Spring 2016, we will be holding several workshops ranging in topics from the future of email (what should happen to your digital legacy after death?) to the right to biodata access (how much should FitBit really know about you?) to many more. These 2-hour workshops will propose a question, give time for discussion, and brainstorm – or even create – possible answers. We’ve invited student groups, Berkman researchers, and other affiliates to join in on the conversation. Through the lens of these different topics, let’s explore various skills related to design-thinking as a problem-solving protocol, such as paper prototyping, rapid iteration, and more. This is a unique opportunity to invent, build, and shape the increasingly digital environment in which you live, learn, work, and create. If you would like to get involved and receive updates, please sign up here.
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society is seeking energetic, creative, and passionate students to apply for the Digital Problem Solving Initiative (DPSI). DPSI is a University-wide initiative that brings together a diverse group of learners (students, faculty, fellows, and staff) to work on real-world projects that address problems and opportunities across the university – no experience necessary!
DPSI offers all participants the opportunity to enhance and cultivate competency in various digital literacies as teams engage with research, design, and policy work relating to the Harvard community. As a student, you’ll have the opportunity to work with – and be mentored by – Harvard faculty, fellows, and staff in collaborative teams that will build and shape the increasingly digital environment in which we live, learn, work, and create.
Furthermore, DPSI is about listening to student voices, empowering student-led teams to bring their ideas to fruition. Maybe you want to help libraries connect better with students, or think about how to make online education more accessible. Maybe you want to build a Harvard-specific app. The DPSI community is a collaborative space that makes it possible to deliver tangible results.
To learn more about the application process, check out the DPSI website and apply now! Applications are due on Tuesday, September 9. If you are accepted into the program, you’ll be asked to commit to approximately 6-8 hours a week for the fall semester. In addition, if you’re interested in learning more about the Berkman Center, check out some of our kickoff activities in early September.
In the past couple months we (the DPSI team) have been reflecting on what we learned from the experience of piloting the Harvard Digital Problem-Solving Initiative, together with the insights and inputs of the participants who helped mold the venture and friends who helped nurture and guide it.
We’ve been buoyed by promising findings gathered through earnest reflection and feedback. There’s a strong sense of shared purpose among participants and an affirmation of the value of learning-by-doing. Teams’ outputs are doing real “work” out in the field and in the world.
On the whole, the results are encouraging. The process of channeling all this learning into the design of DPSI 2.0 is already underway.
Rather than hurdle down that path, however, it’s helpful to take a moment to meditate on what’s past.
“DPSI in 90 Seconds” offers a flavor of the experimentation, collaboration, and types of engagement that were central to the pilot. Collectively, the five use case teams brainstormed, iterated, and dove headfirst into multifaceted inquiries. They faced challenges and enjoyed successes. Between the initial guiding questions and the teams’ journeys over the course of a year, DPSI-ers studied innovation and “creation spaces,” both the world over and close to home (at Harvard’s iLab), plumbed datasets and privacy law with HarvardX, got the scoop from undergrads about how they do—or don’t—want to interact with Harvard on social media, encouraged HILT to explore new modes of practice, and flexed their curation and design skills in partnership with theHarvard Art Museums.
In addition to the video above, we’ve produced other works over the course of the year that help tell the pilot’s story. The videos explain the missions of DPSI broadly and the teams specifically, and also illustrate the ways in which participants connected to the experience, the subject matter, and to one another on a personal level. We’ve highlighted a few of them here:
For an overview of the pilot, including some of the students, faculty and team projects involved, watch the video below.
Throughout the program, ‘lightning’ talks bring expert practitioners from across the Harvard community to talk to DPSI team members and inspire new ways of thinking. For example, founder of The Experiment Fund Hugo Van Vuuren gave a talk on the ‘interoperability of physical spaces’ to remind us to find common time despite our digital life.
Please check back soon here to see how you can become involved in DPSI 2014-2015. We encourage students, faculty, and staff to reach out to us about any and all questions concerning DPSI. We look forward to more participation and even broader collaboration in DPSI 2.0 as together we cultivate digital competencies, foster collaboration across layers and schools within Harvard, and challenge the way we think about problem-solving.