Edinburgh Apps – weekend pitching doesn’t get better than this!
Last weekend we had the opportunity to pitch our ideas to Edinburgh City Council for their Edinburgh Apps competition – the first ever UK council initiative to engage digital teams with open council data.
Now Sunday’s are usually a day of rest and relaxation but we ditched our dressing gowns and slippers and shook off our Saturday hangovers for a day of pitching, judging and most importantly – Winning!
But the journey didn’t begin here...
The Ice Breaker event
Back in September we attended their Creative Exchange networking event. Meeting new people, meeting people we already knew, and critically having a few drinks. My colleague Caio and I had a great time getting to grips with the kind of things Edinburgh City Council were interested in doing.
Enter the Trashman – a recycling hero
Following on from the Ice Breaker event we brainstormed our ideas, worked with council staff to discover data sets and frame our concept. After much deliberation we developed an environmental app to help the council evaluate, understand and monitor recycling activity in the city of Edinburgh.
We found a great open data set from the council detailing over 4000 of their recycling bin types and locations. We conceptualized an incentive based app centered around recycling, crowdsourcing and big data. The app is called “Trashman” – like Sponge Bob Square Pants - unsophisticated on the outside but very sophisticated within!
Pre pitch networking - sorting the wheat from the chaff
Two days before the Sunday pitch we were invited to a networking night. This involved showing up with the right Friday night attitude, to network with a group of what turned out to be very nice, interesting people whilst simultaneously undertaking the envious task of eating delicious prawns and drinking fine wine. Successfully managing all three things at once is the mark of a true networking pro. The Council’s aim no doubt, was to see who was still on board, who had serious, actionable ideas, and in true Scottish style, it was no doubt a clever tactic to sort the “wheat from the chaff” when encountering us all the following day at the pitch!
We arrive on Sunday, Saturday hangovers defeated by the might of the morning’s berocca chaser, feeling triumphant in the fact that we are most definitely pure wheat!
The tension mounts. Around 15 teams are publically pitching for the approval of a panel of three. We have the focus of Muhammad Ali, minus the fists of steel, instead armed a data stick and what we hope is a winning presentation.
There’s lots of great competition, strong ideas, ideas which integrate hardware, big ideas around civic responsibility – ambitious make or break stuff. But we believe in our idea. Sooner than we think we’re on stage! Our pitch centre’s on the character of 'Trashman' a recycling hero. We show some app video and talk tech, campaign, social and demographics all in the space of 10 minutes. Then BAM! Suddenly it’s all over.
The waiting game
We watch the remaining five pitches, think about the quality and strengths of the previous pitches and assess our chances. There were some fantastic pitches and concepts but the results were about to be announced so we waited with baited breath.
And the winner is … Precedent!
They like the idea. What can we say? We are over the moon!
The aftermath – it's Tuesday - Edinburgh Council are looking to follow up with a workshop and have emailed to say we have some more prizes to collect (we like prizes)!
We can’t wait to get started and see where this goes. But before we do, we need to tidy the office and fill up those recycling bins. Sharpish!