Guess who the real winner of this contest will be...

The province has found a new way of getting free computer programming. According to an internal email obtained by Public Eye, on March 26 the government will be launching a nationwide contest challenging the public to create mobile or Web applications that "communicate climate data in new and interesting ways, raising awareness of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions." The winners will be awarded sponsor-contributed cash and prizes in the fall of 2010. At the same time, the government is launching a parallel contest for civil servants who wish to design similar applications. But none of their work will be financed by taxpayers, with employees being required to use their own time, hardware and software. The following is a complete copy of that email.

On March 26, 2010, the Climate Action Secretariat will launch a nation-wide contest designed to engage Canadian citizens in climate action awareness. Given access to government climate data sources ranging from GeoBC to Statistics Canada, the contest challenges developers to create mobile or web applications to communicate climate data in new and interesting ways, raising awareness of our efforts to reduce carbon emissions. Sponsors have contributed cash and prizes to be awarded in the fall of 2010.

Because the BC Public Service is hosting the contest with support from sponsors, BC Public Service employees are not eligible to enter the public Apps for Climate Action contest. The BC Public Service would like to generate bright ideas, creativity, and innovation we know employees have to offer by running a parallel contest to engage employees in creating similar mobile and web applications related to climate change education. Participation would be fully voluntary, and employees who participate would create the applications using their own hardware and software, and on their own time.

As a member of the BC Public Service, we would appreciate your input to help us shape this employee contest and determine the best way to recognize employee contest participants.

Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions and send your responses to by 4:30pm on March 22, 2010.

1. Would you participate in this contest? Why or why not?
2. What information would you need or need access to in order to create a mobile/web app?
3. Approximately how many hours would it take you to develop such a mobile or web application?
4. What kind of incentive would motivate you to participate in this contest? If you won, how would you like your winning submission to be rewarded or recognized?
5. Would you prefer to enter a contest submission on your own or work as part of a team?
6. If your submission won, would you expect to:
a. Give up the rights to your app to the BC Public Service
b. Maintain the rights after a 12 month grace period
c. Maintain the rights to your app
d. Other (please specify)

If you have any questions about the public contest, please contact David Wrate, Future of Work, at

Thank you for taking the time to fill out this short survey. Your feedback is much appreciated.

1 Comment

Okay, I'll bite: Teenagers will win.

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