We woke up today like little kids on Christmas morning, eager and excited to see what the day would bring. It’s the second day of the PHA Innovation Challenge, and we’re back at PHA HQ with some of the most awesome designers, strategists, and developers around. We knew that in just a few hours, they would be presenting their ideas, many in working prototype form, to our crush-worthy panel of judges.
Funny thing is that our hackers have shown few signs of sleepiness, completely enveloped in their projects. In fact, this is one of our developers, Aaron. He actually beat us to the office this morning, and it’s still a mystery how he hacked his way in (hah).
Aaron, first in line for breakfast.
Mid-way through the afternoon, we were given a little brain-break by Adam Dole, Presidential Innovation Fellow. He gave a talk on health and information, setting the context for many of the initiatives that would be presented today. Before working at the White House, Adam was an entrepreneur-in-residence at the Mayo Clinic and could therefore relate to many of the strategic, entrepreneurially-minded hackers gathered. He reminded us, "Put information in the path of decision-making."
Adam, all smiles to be supporting The Feast (and his good friend, Jerri).
Then, we Feasted like we have a tendency to do. Lunch was delicious and filled with bright-colored brain foods like these:
We like to plate things.
Finally, it was time for the judges to arrive, *cue the music from TRON: Legacy*. Julie Moreno, Bill Dietz, Larry Soler, and Adam Dole came ready to cast their votes, excited to see the weekend’s progress. Our judges, at a glance…
- Julie Moreno, Public Health Advisor for Childhood Obesity at the White House
- Bill Dietz, Director of the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity at the CDC
- Larry Soler, President and CEO of PHA
- Adam Dole, Presidential Innovation Fellow at the White House
See what we meant by crush-worthy?
A dream team dedicated to ending the childhood obesity epidemic. (from left: Adam, Bill, Julie, Larry)
Our hackers really outdid themselves. Every team presented with such passion, and we were consistently blown away by the thoughtfulness, clever UX design, thorough research, effective use of data, and innovative playfulness that came of a single weekend. That being said, two ideas were elevated tonight and will take the stage of the PHA Summit this coming week. Our winning hackers will get the chance to present their ideas in front of an influential audience (not to mention share a stage with the First Lady herself!).
Let’s meet the winning teams!
Team 1: Superfuel
Aaron Franco, Nicole Cardoza, Kate Nicholson, Laura Uvena, Mafe Perez
The superheroes behind Superfuel. (from left: Kate, Aaron, Nicole, Mafe, Laura)
Superfuel is an idea designed to help families achieve superhero status by completing a weekly dinner or activity mission. Aaron, Nicole, Kate, Laura, and Mafe came together through our team-building activity and meshed well from the start. They all share a passion for connecting families around decision-making and giving children agency. That’s where their app idea, with both a child-facing and parent-facing interface, came from. When asked what she was most excited for next, Nicole responded, “To present it in front of people who can make it happen.”
Team 2: Start A Garden
Ameer Baksh, Kirk Curry, Mandy Curry, Nicole Mercer
Surprised and thrilled to be spending a few more days in D.C. (from left: Nicole, Mandy, Kirk, missing Ameer… he had to get back to school!)
Start A Garden is an idea designed to help teachers create quick, easy, and inexpensive classroom gardens. Ameer, Kirk, Mandy, and Nicole are excited that they’ve found a way to bring this idea to life, especially given the existing research that proves students who grow their own healthy produce are more likely to eat it, and possibly, to do better in school. Ameer was one of four high school students that hacked with us this weekend, effectively making him the youngest winner in our PHA Innovation Challenge. In a rush of happiness at the end of the day, Mandy and Kirk reported, “This was so unexpected. The 7 hour drive from West Virginia was worth it.”
Impressed doesn’t even begin to cover it.
We want to thank the ladies from Geeks Without Bounds for helping facilitate this whole process. It’s crazy to think that this weekend is ending, but we’re excited to see the roots of potential new solutions take hold. That’s it for now - stay tuned as we follow these projects through the next week and onto the stage of the PHA Summit!