“What is dev ops?” modelled by Lego by Tech for Non Tech participants

Why we’re backing Tech for Non Tech

How a one-day class started in New Zealand, spread to Australia and is now going global.

Grace O'Hara
May 14 · 4 min read

This week, a group of people who’ve been working together online for months will finally be meeting in person and delivering two community classes.

The course? Tech for Non Tech, a one day crash-course that teaches non-technical people how stuff is made online, and how to better understand, support and work with developers.

Originating in New Zealand, where it was developed by Enspiral’s Dev Academy, Tech for Non Tech was created in response to a growing problem:

  • Firstly, that technology was creating a growing divide in those who could navigate online worlds, and those who couldn’t.
  • Secondly, that increasingly, those in a position of power had got there because they were great business leaders, rather than for their tech-savviness. Which is fine, until they’re suddenly responsible for making technical decisions which can have a large impact on others.

The one-day class seeks to make the world of web development more accessible to a wider number of people.

Tech for Non Tech session run by Code for Australia in Melbourne

What Makes It Special

While there is no shortage of resources online that might cover the same content of Tech for Non Tech, there’s a couple of secret ingredients that make it unique in and of itself, and also as a civic tech product.

As a class, Tech for Non Tech offers a friendly, welcoming, and safe environment for adult learners, where it’s okay to admit “I don’t know”. The delivery team has also worked hard to hone everything from lighting, food, pace and activities to create ideal learning conditions, so that participants get the most out of the day.

One day isn’t enough to know everything about the internet and how digital products are made. So instead, Tech for Non Tech aims to provide participants with a scaffold to understanding everything else. If people walk away with a process of understanding jargon and concepts, rather than rote learning current buzzwords, they’re able to have better ongoing conversations.

As a civic tech product, Tech for Non Tech is a model that is capable of generating sustainable and shared revenue, which allows Code for All members to work closer together. While the IP is held by Enspiral’s Dev Academy, each time a class is run (anywhere in the world) a percentage of the ticket prices goes into a pool of funds that is shared between all delivery partners — not for general use, but to fund the development and updating of content.

Along with this shared content fund, each delivery partner agrees to share back learnings and notes (specifically: retro notes, run sheets, analogies and any post-class interviews) to further help the collective network of organisations learn and grow.

Code for All & Tech for Non Tech

Code for All offers small grants of up to $10,000 USD to replicate impactful programs, tools and processes between its members and the wider civic tech community.

Teams from Code for Australia, Open Up and Code for Japan applied collectively for an exchange grant, in order to onboard two new partners to the program and expand the delivery partner network.

Working for both Code for All and Code for Australia — I wasn’t part of the decision making process, but was delighted to find out we’d be approved.

Over the past eight weeks, members from all three organisations have been having weekly 90 minute calls, to discuss everything from sales and marketing to the secret formula on food, lighting and technical concepts.

This week, Lina Patel and Ben Ralph (from Code for Australia) along with Nao Myoshu (from Code for Japan) are with the Open Up team in Cape Town, where they’ll be running two classes as part of the handover process.

As part of the grant funding agreement, each organisation has been tasked with sharing their experience of the exchange and handover of Tech for Non Tech. We can’t wait to share that with you in the coming weeks and to see how this collaboration takes off from here.

For any questions on Tech for Non Tech, feel free to reach out to any of the Code for All team, or join the #techfornontech channel over on our Slack.

If you’re curious about all the initiatives and programs happening within the Code for All member network, you can learn more about what we’re working on here.

Code for All

Code for All is the largest civic tech network in the world, amplifying the impact of good ideas through a global network of local organisations.

Grace O'Hara

Written by

Storyteller at Code for Australia & Small Fires. Trying to figure this world out in between, sometimes with words, mostly with action.

Code for All

Code for All is the largest civic tech network in the world, amplifying the impact of good ideas through a global network of local organisations.

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