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1st Innovation Lab in BiH Concludes with Presentation of Awards to Best Projects

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The presentation of awards to the best projects, held at the Art Cinema Kriterion last Saturday, June 30, 2012, marked the conclusion of the 1st BiH Innovation Lab 2012, organized by the Internews Office in BiH and the Foundation OneWorld Platform for Southeast Europe.

The jury of the Innovation Lab decided that the first prize (3,000 BAM to support the development of the project) should go to the project for improved accessibility and usability of internet for daltonists and other people with impaired vision and colour recognition, developed by Aleksandar Savić, student at the Middle Electrical Engineering School in Sarajevo. The project develops software add-ons for Mozilla Firefox that will automatically adapt the colour scheme of internet websites for persons with Daltonism and other conditions that manifest in inability to recognize different colours.

The winners of the Innovation Lab with Sue Folger and Valentina Pellizzer (Photo Oneworldsee.org)The winners of the Innovation Lab with Sue Folger and Valentina Pellizzer (Photo Oneworldsee.org)

The second prize of 2,000 BAM went to the project for development of citizen journalism of the e.trafika.net portal from Banja Luka. The portal, founded and managed by young journalists and journalism students to allow them to grow their professional experience and develop their journalistic skills, will allow the citizens that want to work as journalists or believe they are good writers and reporters, to report about events and developments in their own local communities.

The third prize (1,000 BAM) was awarded to the project for networking for environmental protection, developed on the idea of Vesna Jovanović-Hadžić, M.Sc. in Workplace Protection and Environmental Protection from Tuzla. Under the auspices of the Innovation Lab, she started the development of an internet portal that will allow citizens and young people to report pollution and organise and apply for participation in cleaning actions.

Sue Folger, the director of Internews in Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasized how difficult it was for the jury to choose among the competing „fantastic projects“.

„I hope that you will turn all those ideas into real projects in the future. I hope that we will stay in touch through this great networking collective and this is surely not the end of our communication“, Folger said.

Valentina Pellizzer, executive directress of the Foundation OneWorldSEE, expressed her gratitude to all those that helped the organisation of the Innovation Lab 2012, to the volunteeers and members of the entities that organized the event for their tireless work to ensure the success of the Innovation Lab. She also expressed her gratitude to Leftor Web Apps and Hosting, Pauza.ba, Drupal and Mozilla communities in BiH for the support they provided to the Lab, especially in terms of development of ideas.

Over the two working days of the first Innovation Lab in BiH (June 29-30), nine ideas were developed, selected among a total of 46 ideas that were applied for participation after the public call was issued by the organizers.

The ideas included projects for reporting and mapping of environmental threats, mapping of crime rates and criminal offenses in the country, assistance to people with impaired vision, monitoring of budget spending and abuses of public spaces during election campaigns, map existing needs for repairs and improvements in BiH elementary and secondary schools, and a project to develop an LGBT info-portal in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The ideas were developed in groups, with periodical presentations of progress achieved up to that point. In their work, the groups had the support of IT specialists, designers, programmers and developers, experts in planning of projects and web-operations, who offered practical advice for the development of ideas. All participants that we talked to (we shall prepare and publish those statements over the coming days) emphasized the fact that all ideas went through great transformation and upgrading during the work in groups.

The work of the ideas was done in groups. On the photo is the group working on development of LGBT Portal (Photo Oneworldsee.org)The work of the ideas was done in groups. On the photo is the group working on development of LGBT Portal (Photo Oneworldsee.org)

During the Innovation Lab, several presentations were held with the aim to assist the participants in the development of their ideas. Zoja Bajbutović from SpyPixel talked about the problem of user experience and usability, and her colleague Dan Brickley presented the free stuff on internet and how to use it. Saša Madacki from the Centre for Human Rights spoke about strategies for researching and browsing for information.

Anna Kuliberda from the Techsoup Foundation talked about „Networking: How and Why?“, while Hadi Habbal from the Tactical Tech Collective gave a presentation on privacy and security on internet and mobile devices. (On Sunday, July 1, Habbal gave, in a side-event to the Innovation Lab, a workshop on privacy and security on internet and on mobile devices for LGBT activists and members of civil society in BiH). Pero Cigelj from the Drupal Community in BiH presented the Drupal content management system. Also, Boris Brkan presented the existing „Repair my School“ website that maps the repairs needed in BiH schools.

Before the start of the work on actual development of ideas, Valentina Pellizzer and Zoja Bajbutović held a presentation on planning of projects.

For more information on the Innovation Lab, the applied and selected ideas, visit the internet website www.innovationlab.ba, where you can also view the video reports recorded and prepared by the Foundation for Creative Development (FKR) from Sarajevo.

The Innovation Lab programme, organized by the Internews Office in BiH and the Foundation OneWorldSEE aims to raise the awareness about the potential of technological tools for strengthening of the media and their ability to offer reliable information to the citizens, who, better informed, can hold the government responsible for its actions or react to events and development in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Innovation Lab was organized with financial support by the USAID, and with great help from the friends of the Innovation Lab – Leftor Web Apps and Hosting-a, Pauza.ba, Europronet.ba, AlJazeera Balkans and Mozilla community in BiH.

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