It will start with a microphone, a stage, and an idea.
Dozens of designers, developers and energy experts will be gathered. Some will have met before, most are strangers. All of them share an enthusiasm for working fast and solving big problems. And all of their eyes are on the stage.
One by one, innovators will come to the microphone to explain their big idea for a new product or service that would use energy data to solve a challenge. The catch: a working prototype will need to be complete 24 hours later to win business support and up to £ 40 000.
This will be the scene in Bristol on the 22nd/23rd of March when the Open Data Institute and Nesta are organising the UK’s first Environment & Energy Open Data Challenge.
As European Green Capital 2015, the city is acting as the test-bed for the project which aims to encourage people to use open data to develop new services and products which allow people to group-buy the energy to save money, take action in the community to improve energy efficiency or even start communities generating their own energy.
Anyone can take part but it is hoped that entries will come from a range of teams including businesses, start-ups, social enterprises, individuals, community groups, academics, students and special interest groups from across the UK. You still have a couple of days to enter as the deadline for applications is 16th March.
The Open Data Challenge Series of which this Challenge is a part is designed to combine the excitement and focus of a “hackathon” with the longer term support of an incubator programme. The three successful finalists from the Creation Weekend will be given a tailored programme of support in the months after to include business mentoring, support to use open data and service design. The judges will then reconvene to choose the winner, which will be the project which is most innovative, with the largest potential social impact and a sustainable ongoing model.
Examples from the US and across Europe show that a project such as this once cannot only unleash creativity and entrepreneurial spirit but also help to build economic activity as well as accountability and trust in the energy sector.
Bristol is also hoping to gain a reputation as a pioneer in the area of Open Data. The City Council began sharing data on the UK Government Data website back in 2010 and is now developing an open source, open data platform including energy data to serve Bristol and beyond.
Please visit the NESTA website for further information.