• Lightning Talks at NC Open Pass event

WRAL TechWire: “Here’s a look at entrepreneurs’ projects aiming to boost local governments”

2019-08-28T14:59:56+00:00August 28th, 2019|

This article was originally published in WRAL Techwire on August 28th.

RALEIGH – For the past eight years, local volunteers have coordinated civic entrepreneurship across the region, merging efforts under the nonprofit NC Open Pass.

Here are projects presented Tuesday night from entrepreneurs aiming to help local governments provide better services:

  • Mapping the racially restrictive covenants (Led by Leo Suarez – local social entrepreneur)

As North Carolina’s capital city grew, new housing became available for the growing population. However, covenants put in place by these new Raleigh homeowners restricted access to the city’s African Americans. Over time, this would have a cultural effect on the city as a whole.

A Divided Reality is mapping the racially restrictive covenants put in place on new housing as the City of Raleigh grew. The original deeds of Raleigh’s oldest neighborhoods create a data set showing the possible influence these restrictions had on the Raleigh of today.

  • Twitter sentiment data to predict elections (Bailey Costin and Dan Peterson – Momentum Learning alumni)

Politmetrics launched from a capstone project at Momentum Learning, an immersive code school. The project aspires to find a solution to better predict election results after the polls got it wrong in the last national election. The application uses the Twitter API to scan real time hashtags and Twitter sentiment to more accurately show election result predictions.

  • Understanding human behavior to design products (Julie Miller – Wake County Government)

Most people know what they need to do in order to stay healthy, save money, and take care of the environment. However, despite this knowledge and having the best of intentions, many of us behave in ways that are suboptimal in the short term and harmful in the long run.

Julie’s research explores why we make mistakes when it comes to our own well-being and how we can overcome this. This talk presented an introduction to behavioral economics/science as a field as well as outlining how it can be applied to both government and technology development.

  • Lean and Six Sigma & NC State IES (Anna Mangum – NC State)

NC State has a strong mission beyond education and research.  NC State Industry Expansion Solutions (IES) is a non-profit extension function of the College of Engineering with a variety of areas of expertise and services. Capabilities include process optimization expertise, initiatives including Lean and Six Sigma and other efforts that drive manufacturing industry and jobs.

  • Open source mapping with NC Clear Path (Leila Alderman – local social entrepreneur)

Use of digital map and wayfinding platforms like Google Maps have become commonplace.  While these digital tools make it easy to get from here to there by car, public transit or walking, there is no equivalent tool for wheelchair accessibility.  NC Clear Path holds “mapathons” to build the data sets to support handicap accessibility.

[NOTE: The next mapathon is Friday, August 30th at NC RIoT Developer Day at the RTP Campus of Wake Tech Community College.  No skill level is required to participate – bring your own laptop.  Register at ncriot.org]

  • Digital LinCS: Linking Communities to Services (Allison Matthews – Community Expert Solutions)

Certain medications can effectively prevent HIV up to 99% if taken daily, but most people are unaware or unable to obtain medication due to underinsurance. Pharmaceutical companies spend approximately $4 billion a year to support patient assistance programs, but have difficulty reaching marginalized populations who would most benefit from their medications and programs.

Digital LinCS, is a software application to match and connect stakeholders to programs that can help them pay for HIV prevention and treatment medications. It (1) increases time and cost efficiency for providers who process patient applications; (2) improves linkage to care and medication adherence; and (3) improves pharmaceutical companies’ access to an untapped market of people in need of their medications.

  • How React is changing the game for open source software (Tim Rosenburg – Lithios)

For a long time, app developers had to do double work to build solutions that ran on both Andriod and iOS.  This talk outlines alternatives and the power of using React libraries for developing compelling user interfaces and mobile applications.

  • What’s next with Wake Open Data (Bonnie Danahy – Wake County)

Wake County is getting into open data in a big way. Already, past NC Open Pass projects have leveraged data made accessible by local government. Wake is looking for collaborators and ideas for how to continue to make public data available to solve and provide for important citizen needs.