UNDP's first Technology Innovation Competition winner gets US$5000 product development boost
A job preparation and recruitment app loaded with interactive tests and training tools has been awarded first place and a prize of US$5,000 for product development in the United Nations Development Programme's (UNDP) inaugural Technology Innovation Competition 2016.
Danielle Tait, creator of the winning app, which she branded The Interview JM. It is a suite of self-help psychometric tests and training tools for job seekers and companies recruiting staff, providing a platform for continuous development and learning. She is now under contract to UNDP to utilise her prize money to further develop her web application into a full solution.
Second place and a prize of US$3,000 were awarded to Hazel Wright O'Connor and Eugenie Addisson for their innovation, Microspex, a device that monitors indoor air quality by detecting pathogens and allergens that are detrimental to health. Third place and US$2,000 were awarded to Konrad Hylton for a localised, customised app branded Get There, which allows customers to book, pay for, and track taxis online. Microspex and GetThere are also under contract to further develop their innovations and to present them at the 2017 staging of the UNDP's Social Goods Summit.
The top three are Jamaicans who were chosen from a field of 18 other competitors. They collected their prize money, certificates, and trophies at a ceremony staged at the UNDP in Kingston on December 12.
The prizes were handed over by UNDP Resident Representative Bruno Pouezat and Deputy Resident Representative Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, culminating a two-month selection process since the awardees presented their innovations in competition at the second annual Social Goods Summit, held in Kingston on September 19. Pouezat congratulated the awardees, noting their innovative solutions showcased practical approaches to securing targets set under the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Laurence-Chounoune committed the continued support of the UNDP over the next year, promising mentorship and product development support.
Tait's first-place innovation, The Interview JM, illustrated SDG Goal Eight, which targets Decent Work and Economic Growth; second-place Microspex focused on Goal Three, which is about ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages; while third-place innovation GetThere brought to life Goal 11, which aims to "make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable".
"We are pleased by the number of entries and the attempt to tackle some of the biggest problems faced by Jamaica. We look forward to future years of the competition and await the great innovations that will indeed materialise," UNDP Project Assistant Jeffrey James remarked on behalf of the organising committee. He said that the top three were assessed to have demonstrated innovation at a practical level.
The Technology Innovation Competition was created as a practical way to showcase local and innovative solutions to advancing the UN's 17 SDGs.
It was partially funded through the UNDP Innovation Facility and was launched during the Social Goods Summit on September 19.
The Social Good Summit is a flagship event for the UNDP that examines the impact of technology and new media on social initiatives around the world. The event, which is recognised by many countries across the world, unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grass-roots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. In 2015, the Social Good Summit was used as a platform to launch the SDGs, which have replaced the Millennium Development Goals.