Advances in good government require smart thinking and crisp execution, but a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt.
The 2017 Hawaii Annual Code Challenge (HACC) appeared to have had plenty of all three on Aug. 26 when it kicked off at the East-West Center’s Keoni Auditorium.
The month-long team competition saw hundreds of computer programmers, software developers, and tech-minded innovators rally to the state’s challenge to form teams and lend their collective creativity toward improving state government.
Organizers bet big that teams combining a mixture of tech-savvy students, amateurs and professionals would be up to the daunting task of building innovative solutions that could transform the way state government does business, with an eye toward a more efficient, accessible and transparent future.
“The Hawaii Annual Code Challenge is a great opportunity to bring citizens together with government to collaboratively come up with solutions that make Hawaii better,” said Burt Lum, executive director of Hawaii Open Data. “It was amazing what the teams came up with and talent that exists here, especially with our students. We hope to expand this event into more high schools to drive civic engagement and innovation throughout our state.”
A team of University of Hawaii students that called themselves “LoveMilkTea” took first place in the competition with a “wayfinding” mobile app for their campus at Manoa, which often can be difficult for new students and visitors to navigate. The team produced a handy wayfinding app to make it easier to locate buildings on the sprawling University of Hawaii campus.
Second place went to another team of UH students that called themselves “FidgetSpinners,” which presented a mobile-friendly, searchable Hawaii Revised Statutes app. Coming in third was “The-Progress-Bars,” a community team that presented a dashboard showing where grant money from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is being allocated. The top high school team was called “No-Internet,” which featured Waipahu High School students who presented an app that would allow the Office of Elections to more conveniently schedule volunteers for training online instead of relying on phone calls.
In coordinating the event, the state Office of Enterprise Technology Services worked closely with the High Technology Development Corporation, the local nonprofit Hawaii Open Data, and various state agencies seeking innovative ways to improve government services.