Another App Contest Launches Today

These are all broader policy objectives for the CEA, said Michael Petricone, senior vice president for government affairs. “It’s an interesting opportunity to use apps to advance our public policy objectives and expand our audience beyond political junkies to reach young people and technologists, who should be engaged in the discussion,” he said.

Developers are free to choose which device they want to create applications for. More information is available at www.appsforinnovation.com. It is part of a larger grassroots campaign CEA launched in June called Innovation Movement, intended to mobilize citizens in favor of public policies like broadband expansion, alternative energy and free trade.

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Apps contests are all the rage these days. One of the first application contests, “Apps for Democracy” was spearheaded by federal Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra when he was chief technology officer for the District of Columbia. The Sunlight Foundation launched its “Apps for America” Contest last year. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched “Big Apps” in June, giving developers access to raw city data sets to make new applications for mobile devices and the Web. Winners will receive $20,000 in prizes.

With so many contests, developers could get used to having cash incentives to take public data and mash it up with a useful piece of software. Will there need to be a constant rotation of contests to keep developers interested in this sort of thing?

Petricone doesn’t think so.

“If you look at the marketplace for apps, people are doing all kinds of innovative things in all kinds of areas,” he said. “This certainly provides a worthwhile incentive,” but not a necessary one.