We are proud to announce the winners of this year’s Presidential Hackathon, an innovation challenge by the Open Contracting Partnership and the Taiwanese government. The winning teams from India and Taiwan have developed solutions that use open data on procurement to improve two critical social issues: housing inequality and access to health services.
“We were blown away by the insights, passion and professionalism of all the teams. The diversity of proposals from around the world confirmed that accessible procurement data plays a key role in identifying solutions to critical development questions. The winning ideas showed that procurement is critical to improve people’s lives,“ says Bernadine Fernz, Head of Infrastructure at the Open Contracting Partnership.
The two winning projects are:
- Connecting budgets to infrastructure projects in India
Citizens have to shoulder more than 50% of spending on health out-of-pocket, a heavy burden for the more than 300 million people living below the poverty line. However, data on what the national and state government spend on health is not readily available. To change that, CivicDataLab’s Fiscal Force team created a new “fiscal data explorer” which connected budget and procurement data on health and sanitation infrastructure projects, initially for the state of Himachal Pradesh. An index evaluates the performance of the state’s health procurement system, using six indicators to look at process efficiency, fiscal planning, and participation. “Open contracting is vital because it enables meaningful transparency in the procurement process and without it we could not hold governments accountable for how they spend public money,” says Gaurav Godhwani, executive director of CivicDataLab.
- A social housing map for Taiwan
Social housing is important for creating a sustainable city and providing affordable housing. The team Learning Man created a platform to allow the public and officials from the federal and local governments to easily analyze social housing procurement information. The site connects to a data pipeline that automatically collects procurement data, converts it into an open standardized format, aggregates it with geographic information, and visualizes social housing projects on a map with various indicators. The platform makes social housing processes more transparent. It also makes combining social housing data with other datasets easier, which will make it possible in the future to assess the impact of social housing on factors such as the economy and birth rate of a neighborhood. “With all the data in the same standardized Open Contracting Data Standard and Open Contracting for Infrastructure Data Standard (OC4IDS) format, it was much easier to derive value from the data and help calculate key metrics on Taiwan’s social housing procurement,” says Chi-An Wang, project lead of Learning Man.
The teams pitched their solutions virtually to an international jury after a seven-week development and training phase. Both winning teams will take home $5,000 in prize money.
The other finalists were teams from Central America, Colombia, Malaysia, Nicaragua, and Ukraine. All the projects proposed innovative solutions that use open data in public procurement to address specific problems to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
The Taiwan Presidential Hackathon is a global innovation challenge. It promotes open source, open data, and open government best practices to address governance, economic and social needs. Participants are encouraged to develop solutions that highlight how public contracts can inform the design of public policies that enable sustainable development.
Fernz adds: “Investment in infrastructure, goods and services such as schools, hospitals and roads, or medicines, energy or sanitation services are all critical to ensure better lives for citizens. There is a serious lack of open data and accessible tools to help track the progress of such projects, assess risks from external factors, identify the best solutions, and make decisions based on the best information. The Presidential Hackathon helps address this gap.”
About the Open Contracting Partnership
The Open Contracting Partnership is a silo-busting collaboration across governments, businesses, civil society, and technologists to open up and transform government contracting worldwide. We bring open data and open government together to make public contracting fair and effective. Spun out of the World Bank in 2015, we are now an independent not-for-profit working in over 50 countries around the world. We help make reforms stick and innovations jump scale, and foster a culture of openness about the policies, teams, tools, data, and results needed to deliver impact.