On Sunday, we completed our two-week extended mobile hack event, the Boston Innovation Challenge, that brought together almost 100 people to work together to build something that would “help make Boston better.”
We were interested to see how giving teams two weeks instead of two days would change the dynamic of the event and the quality of the hacks, and we were not disappointed.
Eleven teams presented their concepts, following on four themes that we suggested. Some of the highlights:
Winning top accolades from the judges was a team from the company Intrepid Pursuits who built a native application that shows you bands playing in your area, with a minimal interface and allows you to hear their music, see a photo and flip through to your options. CTO Matt Bridges showed this visual and audio approach to finding something to do really stood out as an elegant idea that was well executed.
In a tie for second place were two teams working on applications for the American Red Cross — Red Alert, from John Rice and Tea who built a weather app that alerts people of dangerous weather and links them directly to a preparedness checklist with links to Red Cross information, training materials and Red Cross shelter locations.
And a Red Cross Facebook App from Geordie Kaytes and Team that helps the Red Cross promote disaster preparedness with a fun and engaging way for people to build and share the contents of their “go-bag”, or portable evacuation kit.
The third place team chosen by the judges was Culture Near Me, from Tom Morris and Chris Marstall, which uses the Boston Globe API & a database of public art locations to create a mobile app that will tell you what culture is around you in Boston.
Here are some comments from some participants.
"It’s great to be chosen the Best of BIC. I really enjoyed having two weeks to work on our app. It allowed us to focus on small UX touches and polish, which would have been overlooked with a shorter timescale. It also allowed us to collaborate with some team members who weren’t available for the first weekend. I’d definitely be interested in more "extended" hackathons."- Matt Bridges, CTO, Intrepid Pursuits, http://intrepid-dev.com
"Boston is home to some of the best live venues in the nation but unless you are following a specific band, it can be tiresome to research the different groups playing at various clubs around town. As a member of the music scene in Boston I challenged the participants of the Boston Innovation Challenge to create a mobile application that could promote independent concerts. I was amazed to see my simple and vague presentation lead to the creation of a beautiful mobile app that uses one’s location to see all of the shows happening tonight. By combining the data of Jambase and Spotify, music fans can preview music before deciding where to go. The designers and developers of all the Teams displayed exceptional professionalism and commitment to community problem solving. The power of collaboration was apparent at BIC and I was thrilled to be a part of this intensely creative event.Jake Pardee - BIC Judge, student at Berklee College of Music - JakePardee.com
"I am so excited other folks get that "innovation" and "American Red Cross" go together like Charles and River or perhaps "Boston" and "Innovation." Our participation in the Boston Innovation Challenge has really stirred up some great collaborations we know will help serve our humanitarian mission." - Kat Powers, director of communications, American Red Cross of Eastern Massachusetts.
Many thanks to all for attending and we’ll keep you posted on our next event.
Jeff Moriarty, VP digital products, The Boston Globe.