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City’s Inaugural Innovation Hackathon paves the way for enhanced public participation platforms

The inaugural innovation hackathon was established to provide the City’s geeks, officials, students and partners with a platform to showcase their coding talent by creating software products that will address customer service-related challenges.

 Oceans Five, a team of five individuals from the UVU Africa’s CAPACITI 18-month computer coding incubation programme, won the trophy.

 ‘We sat down and conceptualised an easy-to-use web application for residents that will enable them to search for jobs, as well as see what  City projects are currently on the go. We are mostly targeting the unemployed and positioning the City’s platform as the go-to-place for jobseekers,’ said the winning team’s Realeboga Matlakala accompanied by his teammates Nonzwakazi Mgxaji, Lissa Tshona, Thandokazi Notyalwa and Kamohelo Filane.

 Oceans Five walked away with a R5 000 Takealot voucher and they will be presented to the City’s partners for the design and development of their public participation software called Citi Builder. Second place was taken by the Tigerthons and third place went to Code Talkers.

 ‘This collaboration highlights UVU Africa and CAPACITI’s dedication to developing local talent to bridge the digital divide, and supporting our mission to build future-fit, inclusive societies through digital innovation. We are thrilled to have seen our CAPACITI candidates demonstrate their skills and innovations,’ said UVU Africa Group CEO, Ian Merrington.

 

‘The insights from last week’s workshops and the hackathon are important building blocks to inform future design of public participation tools in the City and the country. The hackathon is an important part of our journey with the City of Cape Town to make public participation more accessible and meaningful. This event builds on learnings from two e-Participation and Policy Modelling Platform for South Africa (ePPMPSA) pilot workshops with communities and councillors hosted with the City’s Public Participation team, which helped us to identify opportunities for using digital platforms in new ways,’ said the Human Science’s Research Council’s (HSRC) Dr Derek Davids.

 

‘Following 24 hours of planning and coding, the youngsters blew us away with their solutions-based applications. Most of the presentations reflected an awareness around using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance our digital Public Participation Platforms to interact with residents on input, ideas for planning and service delivery. There was also emphasis on making sure the software they designed would be low-cost, accessible online and offline, be easy to navigate and make it easy to retrieve information on projects, tenders and jobs. Congratulations to the winning team, Oceans Five, we really look forward to seeing how we can implement their ideas,’ said the City’s Executive Director for Future Planning and Resilience, Gareth Morgan.

 

The seven teams that participated in the hackathon presented their Most Viable Products (MVPs) on Friday, 17 May 2024, to a panel of four judges comprised of the City’s Innovation and Customer Insights Manager, Bridgette Morris, HSRC’s Senior Research Manager, Dr Paul Plantinga, UVU Africa’s Head of Information Technology Chesarae Pillay and the City’s Digital Communications Manager, Justin Lawrence.

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