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New York City’s Next Apps Contest — No Programming Needed

This time New York City’s BigApps Idea Challenge is offering prize money for ideas that might lead to useful mobile or Web apps.

Have an idea for a mobile or Web application that would be useful for New York City, but you aren’t a programmer? If so, the New York City has the perfect apps contest for you: the NYC BigApps Idea Challenge.

Launched by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) this week, the competition seeks new ideas for Web, desktop or mobile applications that benefit businesses, tourists and those living in the Big Apple.

The contest lasts just over a month, ending on July 28. Winners will be announced on Aug. 11 and those selected will receive $5,000 in combined prize money for their ideas. According to the BigApps Idea Challenge website, the top-25 ideas, which will be judged by online public vote, will receive $100 each. The top-10 apps, decided on by a panel of judges, will receive an additional $250 each.

Whatever app ideas are developed could potentially be worked on for NYC Big Apps 3.0, a competition for individual software developers and businesses to create apps using official data from New York City. That contest is expected to begin in 2012.

“Consistent feedback and insight — from developers and the general public alike — is at the heart of New York City’s open government efforts,” said Carole Post, commissioner of DoITT, in a statement. “The Ideas Challenge should ensure our city’s vibrant tech marketplace, and the great minds that keep it running, are primed for [the] NYC Big Apps 3.0 competition and beyond.”

The BigApps Idea Challenge judging panel consists of:

• Dawn Barber, co-founder, New York Tech Meetup
• Alex Diehl, managing director, BMW iVentures
• Charlie O’Donnell, principal, First Round Capital
• Carole Post, commissioner, DoITT
• Clay Shirky, associate arts professor, ITP and distinguished writer in residence of New York University’s Journalism Department
• Steven Strauss, managing director of NYCEDC’s Center for Economic Transformation

This type of idea-driven contest — in which participants don’t need computer programming skills — has picked up steam recently. The online government community MeriTalk recently launched the Merit Awards, which has a $50,000 prize for the most innovative, problem-solving and cost-saving proposal that improves U.S. government and is centered on technology. Entries in that contest can simply be tweeted or if overly detailed can be submitted through e-mail.