Last Friday I spoke with Norm Laviolette, the comedy godfather of Boston. Norm, along with his partner Chet Harding, founded the Improv Asylum and Laugh Boston. The interview, on Herald Radio, was wide ranging, but one part stuck out, Laviolette’s unorthodox idea of a hackathon to work out the problems with the MBTA.
Laviolette first floated the idea on Facebook a few days prior to our conversation, so I brought it up on the radio.
I propose we have a hackfest to address the MBTA’s problems. Boston has some of the brightest and most creative minds in world. Let’s get them all; from the tech, comedy, marketing, music, venture capital, art and finance worlds attacking the problem. I will offer Laugh Boston to host the event for free. Lets stop bitching about things and get shit done!
The idea is intriguing, get a bunch of Boston’s best, brightest, funniest, and everyday users of the transit system together in a room for a day and have them go at it. Identify real areas for improvement and present the MBTA with an action plan.
Now this only works if the current leadership at the MBTA and administration is open to it and nurturing of it. I’ve put Norm in contact with the appropriate people in the administration. Let’s hope this becomes a reality.
It is a sound concept, hackathons are routinely used in technology to develop new products, new processes, and new ideas. Let’s harness the intellectual power of the region coupled with a few beers to solve this problem. But let’s hurry, “winter is coming.”