Do-gooders and tech geeks work as one

Six teams worked presented their ideas during the Idea Challenge hosted at 1313 Innovation. Proposal for a Joe Knows Delaware website by Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau won audience text vote for best idea. // Photo by Michael J. Mika
Six teams presented their ideas during the Idea Challenge hosted at 1313 Innovation. Proposal for a Joe Knows Delaware website by Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau won audience text vote for best idea. // Photo by Michael J. Mika

By Michael J. Mika

Websites that serve as portals of information, a Delaware-based medical school, and cancer research centers were among suggestions generated during Idea Challenge 3.0 sponsored by Technology Forum of Delaware earlier this month.

The idea brought together six teams of so-called Do-Gooders (civic and nonprofits) and Tech Geeks (technology experts), to see how the intersection of their ideas could make Wilmington a better place to live.

The plans suggested by the six teams were different yet each embraced the core of the idea to make Wilmington a better place to live.  The judges were not able to select one winner, instead saying that pieces of each idea could all have a positive impact.

“In the third annual idea challenge, ‘Do-gooders’ and ‘Tech Geeks’ worked together to create new ideas, new applications for technology and new concepts to address issues that were raised in Tech Forum’s State of the Delaware Technology Community report,” said Rick Sommer, Tech Forum president.

Last year, the forum published The State of the Delaware Technology Community, and cited four factors critical for creating a thriving tech community.  They used those factors — technology talent, community support structure, venture funding, and reputation — as the basis for this year’s Idea Challenge.

The six teams reviewed the report and selected one area of concern to address. More than 40 technology and community leaders participated in this year’s challenge. Some of the ideas included:

• Downtown Visions suggested creating a Digital Diamond of tech resources to use.

• Great Dames suggested a not-for-profit approach to obtaining grant money to create a Silicon Valley of the East environment in Wilmington.

• Greater Wilmington Convention and Visitors Bureau suggested Joe Knows Delaware, a new portal website named after the state’s favorite Joe, that would offer information about events, jobs and Wilmington. Audience attendees were able to vote with a text vote, and 32 percent selected the Joe Knows Delaware.

• Small Business Administration create the Beau Biden Center of excellence that could become a
medical school.

MySherpa and Capital One sponsored the March 16 event held at the Hercules Building in downtown Wilmington. Greg Gurev, head of Sherpa and past president of the Tech Form, told the more than 150 attendees that forums like the Idea Challenge are one of the best ways to see great ideas grow into reality.

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