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Random Hacks of Kindness

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Opening up government and providing transparency, collaboration and participation can occur in many ways, including partnerships. As in any partnership, government to non-government partnerships are best when each partner brings their respective core competencies to the collaboration resulting a unique capability when brought together. If architected correctly, partnerships can help government agencies explore practices and tools not part of their daily playbook or interact with communities not historically part of their main mission. Additionally, partnerships can help non-government partners access to different distribution channels and collaborate in new ways.

Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) is an emerging global community of programmers and subject matter experts dedicated to creating practical and innovative software solutions to sustainable development challenges. RHoK started with the realization by Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft that they could put competitive concerns aside to support humanity, first starting with the disaster response community. The World Bank noticed this unique opportunity, held them to this idea and supported them putting into motion the RHoK initiative. Partnering with NASA, RHoK was launched in Mountain View, CA on November 12-14 2009 with the first hackathon.

This panel will bring together a representative from each partner organization to describe the Random Hacks of Kindness vision and motivation, as well as plans for the future RHoK community. Each panelist will additionally share motivation and benefit received for each organization’s partnership in supporting the RHoK community.

Robbie Schingler

Planet Labs

Robbie Schingler is an Engineering Project Manager in the Office of the Center Director at NASA Ames Research Center (ARC) where he focuses on non-traditional partnerships and new ventures for NASA. Robbie works in the Small Spacecraft Division helping to bring small spacecraft partners and flight projects into NASA, and most recently was the Capture Lead for the NASA Small Explorer Program (SMEX) proposed mission called the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

Robbie is one of the co-founders of the NASA CoLab project in 2006, and is an active participant in creating public participation and open innovation at NASA. Previously, he has worked at NASA in three different positions: program and policy analysis in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, research scientist in nano technology at ARC, and as a student scientist in cosmochemistry at ARC.

Robbie has also worked as an independent consultant for space security research and as a mechanical engineer and project manager at an engineering consulting firm. Robbie is a 2005 Presidential Management Fellow and holds bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from Santa Clara University, the International Space University, and Georgetown University in Engineering Physics with and emphasis in Aeronautics and Astronautics, Space Studies, and Business Administration with a Certificate in International Business Diplomacy, respectively.

Stuart Gill

World Bank

Stuart Gill currently works for the World Bank in the Disaster Risk Management team for the Latin America & Caribbean region. Previous to this, Stuart taught and researched in the Department of Astrophysics at Columbia University.

Photo of Patrick Svenburg

Patrick Svenburg

Microsoft Corporation

Patrick Svenburg works as Senior Manager, Developer & Platform Evangelism within Microsoft’s Public Sector Division. His team is responsible for driving early adoption and awareness of next-generation technologies among customers and partners with a focus on the developer and technical architect communities. He is particularly passionate about technologies related to open government, cloud computing and social media. He has over 15 years’ experience within the international software industry and have previously held executive positions at Precise Biometrics, Oracle Corporation and the Swedish Trade Council.

Photo of Todd Khozein

Todd Khozein


Todd Khozein is a co-founder of SecondMuse, a communications incubator that engages technology and human capacity to accelerate advancement. Todd spends the majority of his time at SecondMuse working with government and multinational clients to design and implement innovative initiatives that are focused on solving the world’s greatest challenges. He also spends time with his colleagues developing and testing the emerging science of collaboration where they are actively studying mechanisms and processes by which organizations and individuals can transcend the constraints of traditional competitive models.
For the last ten years Todd has been involved in the study and application of systems theory, in particular as it applies to organizational structures. Beginning during medical school with the application of biological systems as models for cashew farming cooperatives in Honduras, he went on to develop and build business systems in numerous industries modeled after the human body. For the last 3 years he has incorporated the rapid evolution of collaborative technology into these frameworks. His interests lie in the development of collaborative frameworks where the incentive structure, technological platform and human resource development initiatives align to allow for cross-disciplinary transfusion of innovation across organizational hierarchy. Central to his approach is the belief that all systems develop within particular ideological frameworks that, over time, no longer accurately represent our current understanding of the structure of reality. In order for organizations to be maximally effective, their systems must be informed by our ever-evolving understanding of what we know to be true.

Todd Khozein holds a Doctor of Medicine and Bachelor of Arts degree with Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Honor distinction from the University of New Mexico. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Harmony Equity Group.

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