On Apr. 24, 2015, undergraduate and graduate students from around the Midwest came together for the 12-hour innovation workshop #OneDayKC.
Kansas City is experiencing many technological and infrastructural developments, including Cisco’s Smart City initiative, the KC Streetcar and Google Fiber. #OneDayKC organized students into groups and introduced them to civic challenges in the KC area, such as sustainability, transit, municipal services, healthcare, education, recreation and public spaces. Each team was responsible for creating a “big-picture” solution similar to those already being developed in KC to the problem of their choosing.
30 students from seven universities, including William Jewell College, Rockhurst University, UMKC, Missouri S&T, Kansas University, St. Louis University and Blue Valley CAPS, participated in #OneDayKC. William Jewell College was represented by six students: Macy Tush, first-year physics major, Kristen Agar, first-year accounting and interactive digital media major, Brianna Steiert, first-year Oxbridge molecular biology major, Alex Holden, sophomore international economics, communication, philosophy and ACT-In major, Kyle Ainge, sophomore international relations and political science major, and Trevor Nicks, junior biochemistry major.
“[I wanted] to learn about entrepreneurship and expand my network outside of the Jewell bubble,” said Tush.
Nicks found out about the event through fellow Jewell student Bradley Dice, junior physics, chemistry, mathematics and ACT-In major and wanted to participate because he is interested in entrepreneurial business.
The event was organized by Dice along with University of Missouri-KC student Zach Pettet and Rockhurst University student Sarah Jones. This group spent four months preparing for the innovation workshop. They had to reserve venues, recruit speakers, invite participants, find mentors and judges and decide how to fit it all into 12 hours.
“I worked as curriculum director for the day. I helped design our experiments and methods, put together resources to teach about new technology and organized a schedule that would keep participants engaged in the design process,” Dice said.
Several mentors with specialties in areas such as mobile technology, service design, architecture and urban planning contributed their knowledge to the event and its participants.The day began at the UMKC Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation with multiple presentations from distinguished guests, including Jewell Director of Creativity and Innovation Landon Young.
Students were then given time to work on and develop their projects at Think Big Partners and Spring Accelerator, businesses dedicated to helping entrepreneurs.
The day ended at Union Station with all the teams pitching their ideas to a panel of judges. The judges included Chancellor Leo Morton of UMKC; Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority; Diana Kander, best-selling author; Sam Meers of Meers Advertising and Bob Regnier, founder of Blue Valley Bank.
Ideas were judged on three criteria: experiments & evidence, concept & creativity and impact & inclusion. The panel was looking for something new, well-thought out and feasible.
The winner of the #OneDayKC was given the opportunity to attend GigHacks May 1-3 in KC to see their idea come to life. The winning team is also being given a spot at One Million Cups to pitch its idea in front of investors who could potentially invest in the idea.
The winning team, which included Jewell students Ainge and Steiert, along with four other students from various universities, pitched “Bopp,” a crowd-sourcing method for streetcar users to find trending places in real time. This project would work with the KC streetcar authority to incorporate the already planned kiosks at all streetcar stops. The app would allow visitors and natives to find the most “boppin” places.
“At a surface level, I gained an insight of the entrepreneurial world. But moreover, I gained an insight as to how some people see the world as an oyster, where others see nothing, which allowed me the time to appreciate the ingenuity of people with purposeful actions,” said Ainge.
The runner-up idea was “Flash Foods,” a mobile farmers market.
“It’s a platform that would allow farmers to connect with those living in food deserts,” said Tush.
Farmers would be able to post about their leftover food and meet up with citizens living in food deserts, providing them with access to fresh food. Other projects included “Walkcom,” a smart sidewalk; “Park Shark,” an app to help relieve the frustrations of parking through GPS and smart sensors; “2AM,” a service to help people get home safely at night if they lose their phone and “KC Air,” smart sensors assisting in the follow-through of 311 reports.
“[Walkcom is] a solar powered sidewalk that would enable data collection through pressure sensors, while simultaneously interacting with pedestrians through a LED display,” said Nicks, who worked on the project.
In 12 hours, students learned to work with a team to launch an idea to shape the future of KC.
“The whole day was great, but in general, I just enjoyed meeting new people and networking,” said Nicks.
Dice, Jones and Pettet made sure the day was not all work and no play by hosting entertaining, engaging speakers, switching up the location frequently, allowing students to interview the public and providing lots of free food.
“[My favorite part was] Bradley Dice’s sick cover of ‘Ice Ice Baby,’” said Tush.
Two members from the “Bopp” team, as well as Dice, Jones and Pettet, attended GigHacks and were able to start the development of “Bopp.” The team plans to pitch its idea at One Million Cups May 13th.