Filed under: Charlotte, community services, information design, innovation, social media | Tags: apps, big apps, Charlotte, crowdsourcing, mashup, netflix prize, new york city, uservoice, washington dc
I’ve been intrigued by a crowdsourcing challenge New York City is sponsoring that invites developers to submit solutions for new city apps in exchange for fame and a cash prize. They are not the first to host such a contest – Washington DC did one last year. For a mere $50K, these “non-profits” were able to solicit 230 resident insights and 47 applications in 30 days!
These challenges is that they blend two good innovation ingredients together:
- An attempt to understand what kinds of apps would be useful to consumers by collecting insights and needs. The last thing my iPhone wants is an App that doesn’t solve a problem that people care about. Both the DC and NYC contests leverage UserVoice to do this.
- A data mine for developers. Big cities have lots of data that probably doesn’t get used, but if applied in a good context, you could end up with interesting results. Making the data available promotes transparency and probably helps developers test their apps. This reminds me of the super-successful Netflix Prize, where the company provided real data to help contestant programmers improve its recommendation algorithm.
I know that there are lots of clever developers in Charlotte. I wonder what unique apps would help our own residents? I know I could have used one today that tells me where the closest Wi-Fi signal is both free and strong based on where I am.