In an increasingly metrics-driven world, data is everywhere. Our information, decisions, and purchases are being recorded online, our opinions on products and politicians are regularly collected, and bureaucratic offices have growing physical and virtual troves of records. Without a doubt, large amounts of data collected is sitting ignored, locked away in overstuffed file cabinets or forgotten excel sheets.
Enter Startup Weekend New Delhi, Governance.
This past weekend’s Startup Weekend in New Delhi, India, where all teams worked on projects related to the theme of governance, saw a number of projects focused on using data to create change. Team Juicy Visualizer, first-place winners, created a stunning tool for visually represented scattered data. Their app and website allow users to input data from any source and then automatically generates beautiful visuals that will allow users to better understand, analyze, and draw inferences from their existing data sets.
The weekend’s third place winners, Happy Grievances, also worked on liberating existing information from the abyss. They designed a portal to take information from government grievance departments and make it easily accessible online, tying up with Juicy Visualizer to present it in a digestible format to politicians, academics, NGOs, and other interested citizens. This service has great potential for high-level analysis on trends within the country.
PinDrop, which took second place, is a system for connecting citizens to their local politicians to place complaints – which, if ignored, are then automatically escalated to a higher official. Their app also allows users to visualize complaint data on a map. Similarly, team Reality Reporters created an app to report city issues by users’ geographic location. In the couple of days alone they had already spoken with a couple of government officials in the northern state of Punjab who expressed interest in using their technology. Both teams’ products are working on methods that will help data collected be seen and, ideally, responded to.
Other impressive projects took a slightly different focus. HopQ developed an app that allows metro-riders to input their route and automatically generate a corresponding QR code. When they reach the station, they can walk past the ever-long lines, scan their code, and receive a metro token – hopping the queue. Team iTeach, entering with an interest in improving education, worked on an online platform for connecting and assisting teachers. With the social network designed around their needs, teachers can exchange resources, share ideas, and receive online training. Team Cleanvertising tackled a difficult issue – trash. Through their model, businesses would sponsor trashcans and in return their advertisements would be prominent on the bins – a win-win in working towards cleaner cities.
We loved the ideas and products that came out of the weekend and were also impressed with the participants – who, it’s worth noting, remained focused and hard at work despite the neon Startup Weekend traffic-controller vests we were all wearing (you can get an event t-shirt anywhere, right?). Thank you Adianta Institute, SW Governance judges, mentors, speakers and of course participants for a great event. We will be following your projects and hope to see a good number being actualized. Your ideas and the impact they could create are big!
Also by Rachel: India’s Largest Election Inspires Entrepreneurs To Make Change.