- Phoenix is hosting its third Smart City Hack Ideathon July 8. This year’s competition focuses on transportation, health, education and sustainability, and a new “wildcard” section for any idea that doesn't fit the other categories.
- The winner receives $3,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to Barcelona for the international competition in November. Second place gets $1,000 while third place receives $500.
- Every entrepreneur that comes to the Smart City Hack Ideathon gets mentorship from local experts, educators and business professionals. After the July hackathon, teams have until the end of September to submit their idea. The winner gets to take that idea to Barcelona, which hosts the International Smart City Hack.
22 cities and communities from Phoenix to Dubai take part in the hackathons around smart city ideas that end up competing in Barcelona. More cities like Philadelphia host their own hackathons to get residents involved in their city’s progress.
Last year, Phoenix-based Storage Together, a startup that allows homeowners to network with area residents for help with storage, won the competition. Storage Together went on to win the 2016 Smart City Hack’s "Best Smart City Hack Solution" prize.
Hackathons and ideathons, especially if they're focused locally, are a great way for city leaders to bring residents into the planning and innovation process. Hackathons can bring city officials together with the brightest minds from the private sector and encourage partnerships and a space where groundbreaking ideas can come out. The success of previous hackathon winners, like Storage Together or reVIVE, signal serious potential for cities to continue to partner with startups and the private sector to find solutions to the problems they're facing.