Just after I wrote my previous post on DIYcity, I was struck with an idea. I've been weighing it back and forth ever since. Should I do it? Should I not do it?. And I'm still not sure what the answer is. So: I'm putting my cards on the table and asking people reading this to weigh in with their own answer, to help me decide.
Here's the idea:
Over the past two years, New York City, Washington D.C. and a spattering of other cities have been home to some great apps contests, and these contests have brought some wonderful new services to those cities. And that's great.
But what about the rest of the world?
What about Sao Paulo? What about Paris? What about New Delhi? What about Ciudad Juarez? What about the twenty-some megacities out there?
All of these cities, cities everywhere, should benefit from the kind of thinking and innovation that gets stirred up by apps contests. Not just NYC and DC.
And, as you know if you follow DIYcity, I've always thought that cities should do these sorts of things together, that by looking over each others' shoulders, rather than operating as city-states, they learn a lot more and get a lot farther.
So here is the question: should DIYcity hold an Apps Contest for everywhere?
It would be a contest just like Big Apps, but for every city in the world. Any developer, anywhere, could participate and build an app for their own city.
How would we finance the awards? We'd crowdsource it on Kickstarter.
How would we get word out? We'd have to crowdsource that, too. (I'm sure we could do that, if we decided it was worthwhile.)
So it would sort of be an un-contest. An apps contest put on not by a mayor, or by the world bank, but by ordinary people, and meeting the needs of the people.
The question that I want you to answer is: is this exciting, here on the cusp of 2011? Are apps contests still relevant? Or are they stale? Are they an effective way to spur innovation?
That's what I can't decide, personally. What do you think?
Note: This is NOT exactly where DIYcity is "thinking about going in 2011", when we talk about where we're going. But it could lead us down the road to that place in a nice way.
More on that soon. I feel like it's time to start playing more of an open hand as I and others think through all of these things.
For now though: please weigh in on this question. You can either reply to this thread, or if you'd rather you can respond to me privately at geraci at gmail dot com.