GovHackSA Cape Town

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#govhacksa  cape town winners
#govhacksa Cape Town winners

The #GovHackSA ran as part of an official World Design Capital Event in May 2014 at the offices of 22seven in Cape Town. It was a free,  day-long coding marathon for novice and experienced developers and coders to create new and novel solutions to problems posed to #GovHackSA by the City of Cape Town.

 

The event took months of planning with City Ministers and Councilmen to open data and create usable data sets that the teams could intergrate and use in their applications. This is a follow on from the new Open Data policy that is in draft stages of being passed in parliament.

 

There were 3 challenges set, each participant could chose which challenge they wanted to work on, and teams were formed organically. The keynote speakers for this edition was Gertus Byleveld from Journey who highlighted their partnership with Silicon Cape and encourages all developers to turn their applications in businesses.

 

#GovHackSA¬†were¬†also¬†lucky¬†to¬†have¬†the¬†USA¬†based¬†team¬†from SendGrid¬†who¬†are¬†scoping¬†out¬†South¬†Africa¬†to¬†see¬†the¬†current entrepreneurial¬†and¬†tech¬†landscape.¬†‚ÄúCape¬†Town¬†Community giving¬†feedback¬†to¬†city¬†government.¬†More¬†important,¬†Government ¬†representatives¬†show¬†up¬†to¬†listen‚Ä̬†quoted¬†by¬†Tim¬†Falls¬†from¬†SendGrid. There¬†were¬†three¬†challenges.¬†Each¬†participant¬†could¬†choose¬†which challenge¬†they¬†wanted¬†to¬†work¬†on,¬†and¬†teams¬†were¬†formed¬†organically.

 

Some chose to jump right into coding while others brainstormed ideas. Over 40 enthusiast community members supported and attended the hackathon at the offices of 22seven in Cape Town.

 

Mentors¬†from¬†coding¬†and¬†business¬†backgrounds¬†attended¬†to¬†help coach¬†and¬†facilitate¬†the¬†teams¬†during¬†the¬†day.¬†“Technologies¬†ability¬†to significantly¬†improve¬†and¬†disrupt¬†government¬†services¬†while¬†radically reducing¬†costs¬†has¬†to¬†be¬†one¬†of¬†the¬†biggest¬†opportunities¬†in¬†Africa today,¬†I¬†hope¬†to¬†bring¬†some¬†of¬†my¬†learnings¬†building¬†one¬†of¬†Africa’s largest¬†e-commerce¬†companies¬†to¬†the¬†event”¬†by¬†Daniel¬†Guasco¬†–¬†ex Groupon.

 

The challenges for the day were:

  1. Challenge One ‚Äď Last Mile for the Base of the Pyramid¬†-Collaboration¬†with¬†World¬†Design¬†Capital¬†Project¬†#WDC381¬†to¬†develop¬†a mapping¬†solution¬†to¬†market¬†and¬†distribute¬†life-changing¬†products,¬†such as¬†solar¬†lights,¬†clean¬†cook¬†stoves¬†or¬†water¬†filters,¬†that¬†are¬†designed¬†to improve¬†lives¬†of¬†those¬†who¬†need¬†these¬†products¬†most.
  2. Challenge Two ‚Äď Cape town Residents App¬†–¬†How¬†can¬†we¬†assist the¬†City¬†of¬†Cape¬†Town¬†to¬†showcase¬†council¬†facilities,¬†their¬†location, availability¬†and¬†cost,¬†to¬†make¬†local¬†resources¬†and¬†spaces¬†easily accessible¬†to¬†the¬†public. Challenge Three ‚Äď The Active Citizen¬†-How¬†can¬†we¬†encourage citizens¬†to¬†look¬†to¬†and¬†rely¬†on¬†each¬†other¬†for¬†solutions¬†to¬†community issues?¬†How¬†do¬†we¬†develop¬†an¬†interface¬†that¬†allows¬†people¬†to¬†share information¬†and¬†create¬†a¬†talking¬†community?

 

According¬†to¬†Google‚Äôs¬†Enterpirse¬†Country¬†Manager,¬†Brett¬†St¬†Clair,¬†“At Google¬†we¬†see¬†all¬†Enterprises¬†moving¬†very¬†quickly¬†to¬†the¬†cloud,¬†we are¬†pleased¬†to¬†partner¬†with¬†GovHackSA¬†to¬†help¬†develop¬†the¬†Cloud Ecosystem¬†in¬†South¬†Africa¬†and¬†ensure¬†that¬†we¬†develop¬†world-class abilities¬†by¬†sharing¬†Google‚Äôs¬†Born¬†in¬†the¬†Cloud¬†experiences” The¬†Judging¬†panel¬†consisted¬†of¬†Brett¬†St¬†Clair¬†(Google),¬†Tim¬†Andrews (DotModus),¬†Vuyisa¬†Qabaka¬†(The¬†Barn)¬†and¬†Councillor¬†Garreth¬†Bloor (City¬†of¬†Cape¬†Town).

 

The¬†winning¬†group¬†‚ÄúPulse‚Ä̬†who¬†worked¬†on¬†the¬†‚ÄúActive¬†Citizen‚Ä̬†challenge consisted¬†Alek¬†Gallo,¬†Bruce¬†Bassett,¬†Riccardo¬†Iovino,¬†Michael¬†Graaf and¬†Coenraad¬†Loubser¬†who¬†created¬†a¬†mobile¬†micro-polling¬†platform. The¬†winners¬†walked¬†away¬†with¬†an¬†opportunity¬†to¬†expand¬†on¬†their application¬†with¬†Government¬†and¬†fast¬†tracking¬†how¬†applications¬†can¬†be build¬†with¬†Government¬†and¬†prizes¬†from¬†Google. ¬†A¬†complimentary¬†prize¬†to¬†the¬†runner-ups¬†who¬†also¬†worked¬†on¬†the¬†‚ÄúActive Citizen‚Ä̬†were¬†given¬†a¬†voucher¬†to¬†attend¬†the¬†Lean¬†Startup¬†Program which¬†is¬†being¬†launched¬†in¬†Cape¬†Town¬†on¬†the¬†31st.

 

The #GovHackSA Hackathon provided a great environment for developers to compete amongst each other, understand government’s challenges, learn from one another, experiment with building on existing  code and APIs, and see how fast they can develop applications. Lianne du Toit, organisor of #GovHackSA The day was made possible by the dedicated individuals of the Silicon Cape Initiative, Mlabs, 22seven, South African Breweries, ODADI, Coding for Democracy and Cape Town Entrepreneurship Week.

 

We are looking at hosting more #GovHackSA events which gives like  minded programmers, developers, designers and coders an opportunity to meet each other and learn about the challenges of government and helping solve them.

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