NOLA Tech Tap 2022: Pioneering sustained livelihoods in greater New Orleans
The NOLA Tech Tap: Community Ideathon unraveled from 15-17 September 2022, converging innovative minds from the Greater New Orleans Area to further the goal of sustainability via technological solutions. Read on for an in-depth analysis of its impact!
The NOLA Tech Tap focused on three Sustainable Development Goals as levers for action: SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for Goals). Designed as a 48-hour long virtual innovation marathon, it sought to adopt four features to achieve its goal:
Interdisciplinary Approach: Participants contributed personal and professional skills from critical thinking, design thinking, collaborative team building, community organizing, public speaking, data collection and analytics, graphic design, UI/UX Design, project management, and technical training.
Youth Empowerment: The ideators belonged to three broad categories; college students, early-career working professionals, and high school students. By connecting them around shared goals and concerns, the NOLA Tech Tap contributed to not just enabling but also empowering young change agents in the region.
Incentives and Support: Participants gained access to mentorship and guidance from Nisum experts, enhanced visibility for their project idea, and the opportunity to join hands with local community partners. Plus, the top-three winning teams were awarded prize money of 1000 USD in total and got to showcase their proposal on a global platform.
Action Framework: Building on the concepts and practice of Social Innovation, Design Thinking, and Global Citizenship, the NOLA Tech Tap provided a roadmap and resources to affect change across the NOLA community area.
The entire endeavor was a collaboration between the Melton Foundation, NISUM, and Dillard University. A joint press release was issued ahead of the event.
Project Idea Showcase
The NOLA Tech Tap yielded the following three award-winning solution frameworks:
Cycle Busters (Shahinoor Hafez, Adrieanne Moliere, Hannah Imberman, Jamira Mitchell)
Cycle Busters is an application that serves greater New Orleans by providing family access to resources and action steps. Its core mission hinges on empowering New Orlean citizens by bringing together individuals and families with resources, education, and mentorship opportunities.
Cycle Busters was awarded the title of the Winning Idea.
Bleu Sources (Malik Jameel Durant, Marissa Pittman, Landon Johnson)
Bleu Sources is an app to help families request needed materials or foods from restaurants and stores in surplus. The creators pointed out that 857,000 Louisiana residents are classified as low-income, which in turn has implications on the quality of life those residents can access. The app aims to connect low-income families with local organizations and restaurants that seek to give back to society.
Bleu Sources took home the award for Team Diversity.
HurricaNOLA (Mikey Sison)
HurricaNOLA proposes to provide a notification service and community social interface for real-time location impact, timeframes, and timely evacuations. It seeks to put in place robust and user-friendly predictions and announcements to mitigate the effects of hurricanes, storms, and floods. The idea was adjudged the recipient of the award for Tech for Social Impact.
The above solution frameworks were showcased live during the Award Session. Revive the experience and tune in to three inspiring pitches here.
Guisela Fernandez (Global People Engagement and Wellness Manager at NISUM), Laura Mata (Global Communications and Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at NISUM), and Steffen Bethmann (Chief Executive Officer of the Melton Foundation) delivered the Keynote Impulse, highlighting the successful organizations. Guisela shared :
“The message is of turning places into faces and being part of a global community that embraces diversity.”
Putting the spotlight on social impact, Laura stressed how the event was a step towards supporting sustainable change :
“One common thing in all three project proposals is how you need to bond with other organizations. So I would encourage you to go ahead and try to find those missing pieces.”
Further, Steffen pointed out the innovation potential that revealed itself within the youth within such a short time. The marathon-like hours were undoubtedly challenging and intense but yielded unique ideas of considerable depth and breadth. Quoting Steffen :
“Have you ever dreamed of a world where every child can go to bed not hungry; where every child has access to education; where every person has access to healthcare and where mental health is not an issue; where there is peace; where no species go extinct; where poverty is reduced, and everybody has a chance to develop themselves? All these dreams are very well represented in the sustainable development goals.”
Stats, Facts, and Figures
- 55 individuals accepted the invitation and registered for the event.
- 21 participants were selected after a comprehensive screening of registrations.
- 10 participants completed the 48hrs innovation marathon together in 3 innovation teams.
- All the teams possessed a lot of diversity and interdisciplinary backgrounds.
- 12 females and 9 males from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds participated in the event.
- 14 college students, 6 working professionals, and 1 high school student comprised the total cohort.
- 90% of participants were based directly in New Orleans.
- 95% of participants possessed varying degrees of technological knowledge – from beginners to professionals.
- Selected participants have demonstrated a combined interest across 10 SDGs.