Melanie Janin, Managing Director, Communications, BSR

At the BSR Conference last week in San Francisco, we held our first Sustainability Hackathon, hosted by Qualcomm, challenging developers and designers to produce a hack to help make the world a better place. Our ask of these hackers was simple, but the task was not: Overnight, use your creativity and skills to develop a working prototype to present early the next morning to the full Conference audience.

Close to 30 hackers registered on Thursday evening—some arriving in teams with ideas already in mind, others finding like-minded teammates and evolving their concepts on the fly. We had a great mix of hackers in the room, including professionals at large tech companies and small startups, students, and even a handful of BSR Conference attendees.

Scene from the BSR Sustainability Hackathon

After working all night, participants demonstrated their creations early Friday morning to a small judging panel. We saw a variety of inspiring apps designed to report human rights abuses, track disaster relief, enable socially responsible investing, curb climate change, and more. We narrowed down the group to three finalists, who then presented in a rapid-fire, two-minute format on the plenary stage to all BSR Conference attendees. The audience then voted for the winner via the BSR Conference mobile app.

And the winners are:

1st place: Windshed: A feature that pulls from multiple data streams to help eliminate congestion on the electrical grid relating to wind farms. It makes the grid more efficient, reducing energy prices and carbon emissions.

2nd place: Who Cares?: A website that makes supply chain practices transparent and uses crowdsourcing to evaluate those practices to rank companies. Users can view a photo story of supply chain practices and weigh in with their approval. 

3rd place: We Can Help:  A disaster response app that allows users to pre-volunteer their skills or resources as well as their location, which can be called quickly into action during a disaster. For example, the app will help connect people in need of medical assistance to local health professionals or others in need of a pick-up truck to identify one nearby that a volunteer has offered up.

To all the hackers who participated—thank you for your efforts and talent. We’re inspired by your ideas and commitment to making the world better, one hack at a time. We hope to see some of you next year in New York at #BSR14!

For more information on the hacks, including source code and other details, please visit our Hackathon site.