BOALT wins First Prize for Apps for Democracy Contest

At the last minute, BOALT’s founder Adam Boalt decided to enter the nation’s capital’s first innovation contest with only a couple of weeks left before the deadline.  He had just visited D.C. and presented at a Barcamp on innovation, so he found out about it a bit late into the running. However, he decided to give it a try anyway.

About 250 Red Bulls later, he submitted an open source mashup, D.C. Historic Tours. It was a fairly simple app to help tourists find their way around the city using Google maps.  D.C Historic Tours used historical sites and monuments from the government data set, Wikipedia facts, lunch recommendations from Yelp and photos from Flickr which were elegantly plotted based on the consumer’s interests along with the most practical route to see everything, by foot or car.  A couple of days after his submission, he received a phone call from the Mayor’s office asking him to head downtown.  At a televised press conference which was held with the Mayor of Washington, D.C., Adrian Fenty, along with Federal CIO, Vivek Kundra, Adam was presented with the news that he had won first prize.  We were all a little bit shocked, but it taught us a valuable lesson: simplicity and practicality are often more powerful than complexity.

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