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Hacknight #125 – with Benjamin McNamee

Date: January 16, 2018

Venue: McKinsey & Company

Presenter: Ben McNamee is the Director of Measurement, Evaluation, and Business Intelligence at the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Ben oversees the Foundation’s business intelligence, impact measurement, program evaluation, and Open Data strategies.

Presenting: Ben spoke about his work building a data culture at Ontario Trillium Foundation. He touched on the recent launch of BI@OTF, their automated BI tool, and how this work supports the foundations strategy of bringing outcomes-focused granting and evidence-based decision making to the non-profit sector.


  • Fostering a data-driven culture to better target, measure, and evaluate their impact
  • On creating a data-driven culture: importance of leveraging existing behaviour vs. forcing adoption of new behaviours
  • Importance of generating excitement around data culture to become “infectious. Examples included: “Fun Facts Friday” about date, hype video, scavenger hunt, data jams, upcoming hackathon


  • Open Data Team
    Something launches tomorrow? Yay!
  • Tech Reset Canada
    “A core objective and purpose of technology should be to advance the quality of life of all citizens.” (by Henrik Bechmann for Bianca Wylie)

    • There’s a new tech advocacy group that has just launched called Tech Reset Canada. It’s looking for new members to join on and to take part in the first of many campaigns.
    • This first campaign is about Toronto’s open data master plan
    • City of Toronto has had an Open Data policy since 2011, but for the first 5 years it has been slow to see investment and commitment.
    • The Open Data & Civic Tech Communities have been working with Staff & Council to have the City develop, adopt and fund the new open data master plan for 2-years
    • The new plan is expected to go to the Mayor’s Executive Committee on Wed. Jan. 24th (*next week).
    • Website and sign-up is – we’ll send details about how to get involved in a letter writing campaign.
    • Finally, big shout out to Mark Richardson for being such a persistent voice and force on the issue.
  • Smart Cities Challenge
    Federal Government has launched this program
    $50 million up for grabs
    What should we pitch? Help us!
  • MGCS Open Government Challenge
    Open Government challenge
    The Annual Open Government Symposium
    Looking for: anyone who has hackathon or conference experience!

Project Pitches:

Project Lead(s) Description / Needs
Civic Tech 101 Andrew Go to the back room —>
There will be a board game!
Go with Andrew (guy in the hat)!
CodeAcross 2018 Planning Alex Hackathon planning for Code Across 2018 on March 3 at TPL. Challenge wrangling tonight.
Bike Parking Jake Description: A webapp which will allow cyclists to drop a pin on a map of Toronto indicating insufficiencies in bike parking infrastructure. We believe that the most valuable data to improve Toronto’s bike parking will be crowdsourced.
What we’re doing today: Aligning teams for the release of our MVP–it’s an exciting time!
What we need: Developers, Designers, Researchers, Data Analysts, Communicators
TTC Subway Dashboard Project  Raphael Transit agencies are bad at communicating successes and failures: leaving users with most salient experience in their memory: their worst one
By communicating transit performance in a way that users understand, they might better appreciate how good transit is while understanding why it’s bad when it’s bad and then. Build the political will to improve transportation. Been scraping a bunch of subway data from the TTC, still working on processing data
Looking for:  Data geeks, A logo
Law and Design Team Avery Improving access, usability of legal information.
Need: User researchers, graphic designers, website builders, anyone with interest in legal issues
Women and Colour Mohammed What we’re doing tonight:
Going over some updates in design
Reviewing outstanding development tasks
Determine next steps for development
What we need:
Javascript developers (React + Sails) for website development
Digital marketers for speaker engagement
Community managers for partnership outreach
Bonus: Person good with grant applications to apply for OTF grant Sharky What we’re doing: User testing a book
What we need: Your voice (in january)
Chalmers Cards Zach Description: Chalmers Cards are laser-cut wooden handouts that explain how to access public resources for folks in tight financial situations. Stuff like toll free numbers for shelter referral, financial aid registration, and free legal aid.
The cards are laser cut onto wood so the information doesn’t get crumpled. Plus people think they’re cool so the cards don’t get lost!
These cards have been a real hit!
What we need:
-Graphic Designer to help design the card layout!
-Laser Cutters


Participants: 72

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