Yesterday Ushahidi won the Kenya ICT Award for “Social Equity and Poverty Reduction“, which we’re extremely grateful for. None of us were able to attend the conference in Kenya due to the whole team being at our big annual meeting.
The Ushahidi core team works from 7 different timezones ranging from Kampala to Louisville, soon expanding to places like Brazil and Korea. One weekend a year we’re able to get together, in-person, to solidify our connections with each other and talk through the big strategic topics that are best done face-to-face. It could be argued that it’s the most important 3 days of the year for us.
The First XV
2010 was a big growth year for Ushahidi, where we got up to 12 core team members – doubling in size from 2009. We’re adding 3 more people this year, which brings us to 15, a fortuitous number for the team as many of us are big rugby fans.
(Caleb decided to have a little fun, putting us all in our positions based on the date that we joined the team.)
12 Months Later
Last year we met in Miami, as we are this year, and a lot has happened since then. To name the big ones:
- Plugins – extensible way to add new functionality without bloating the core
- Crowdmap – maps for non-developers, also a means to quickly collect reports giving deployers time to install their own server
- SMSSync – simple and robust alternative to Frontline and Clickatell
- iOS – rich smart phone experience
- Checkins – opens platform to entirely new uses
- Stand-By Task Force – game changer in disaster response
- J2ME – extending reaching onto older devices
- Community Site – fantastic documentation
- Map Geometry
Looking at the historical record, it’s been a good year. However, there’s a lot more to do. At this meeting, besides drinking a Mojito on South Beach, we’ll get into some of the big future-looking issues, such as:
Visual Reporting: What’s the perfect Ushahidi dashboard? How do we surface “power stats” for Ushahidi deployments and metrics. Swift-Ushahidi integration visuals on the front and back end.
Knowledge Management: How do we come up with a plan to capture information that we know internally, so that it is shared with deployers and developers better?
The inverse, how do we handle and capture information that our *users* know regularly?
Crowdmap Scalability & Migration: Making sure that even the biggest deployments work on Crowdmap. Adding in new a la carte features, etc.
Of course, this is a chance to discuss some of the more mundane items as well, around operations, funds and how we work towards organizational financial sustainability as well. It also means that we’ll be offline from today until about Tuesday of next week. We’ll be a little slower on email and other communications mediums, but bear with us as it’s for a good cause.