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COIL Celebrates Winners of the Open Data for Good Grand Challenge

Haley Ashcom Miller, Lead Communications Strategist, Census Open Innovation Labs

In late 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau’s Census Open Innovation Labs (COIL) launched a historic interagency competition. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Open Data for Good Grand Challenge rewards exceptional uses of federal open data to advance technology products that address key national challenges – including employment, education, health, climate, and more.

This challenge called for teams to apply The Opportunity Project (TOP) model by using open data and human-centered technology design to create digital tools. COIL received applications from far and wide from startups, large companies, universities, nonprofits, and even individual students working on independent projects.

Alongside members of the COIL team, more than 100 expert judges volunteered their time to score these applications to select the winners.

“At the core of our work, we prioritize listening to communities and bringing them to the table to address critical national challenges,” said Dominica Zhu, head of human centered innovation for COIL, who leads and manages the prize program. “The applicants’ passion for solving important problems alongside community members was more palpable than ever in the dozens of submissions we received. It was clear that open innovation indeed works and that the creativity and ingenuity of American communities are among our greatest assets.” 

The challenge awards ceremony took place at The Opportunity Project Summit, which was held virtually December 13-15, 2021. You can view a recording of our announcement of the following winners:

Category: Society, Economy, and the Built Environment

*Prizes from the U.S. Census Bureau

Category: Health and COVID-19

*Prizes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Category: Climate, Resilience, and the Natural Environment

*Prizes from the U.S. Census Bureau

Sub-Category: Climate Smart Communities

*Prizes from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In-Kind Prizes

  • Orange Sparkle Ball awarded four one-on-one start-up acceleration sessions focused on storytelling, customer acquisition, product launch, and pitch support to the Vaccine Hesitancy Index by MySidewalk.
  • CivStart awarded consultation on go-to-market strategies, introductions to select corporate partners, and access to the CivStart community and resources to Forerunner Floodplain Management Dashboard, by Forerunner.

Congratulations to the prize winners and our sincere thanks to all teams for their hard work and dedication to creating tools that have the potential to impact communities nationwide.

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