Now that we’ve got your attention, how does all this work?

Vodafone BIG Apps Lisboa is a joint venture between iMatch, Tudo Mudou, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (that’s the local council) and Vodafone Portugal, with some much appreciated oomph from SoftLayer, Google, Microsoft, FreshDeskInteliSendGrid, Konica Minolta and a roof over your head, from Vodafone Power Lab.

The objective is simple: to leverage the open data sets provided by the Open Data LX platform and the City SDK project and to build an awesome (yes we had to get this word in for clarity’s sake) app that enriches the lives of those that live, work and visit Lisboa. We’ve also got a boatload of other datasets that you are going to want to check out.

Short pitch: a kicking app that does cool stuff using fresh data – sweet.

More that just another app, we want to ensure that you have all the tools and support to create a commercially viable solution in unchartered territory – and we aren’t talking about selling more ads.

What we should all be looking for?

We have put together a diverse and experienced committee, in the belief that the selection process is as impartial and void of presumptions as possible, that will judge each BIG idea and team within the following criteria:

  1. The Team: we will be searching for specific competencies, experience and diversity, not only in the BIG idea, but also in the proposed execution. It has to fulfil the required objective of enriching the lives of Lisboa’s inhabitants whilst also adding value to those who visit the capital city.
  2. Quality of the idea: Any and all recipes are only as good as the ingredients you use. We will be identifying creative use, originality and innovation in the BIG ideas submitted. Nowadays, businesses have to be customer centric and your BIG idea is no different. Design with the user’s experience in mind and you’ll be fine.
  3. Value & Use of the BIG idea to the city: If you understand the users’ needs and desires, you’ll know that relevance is key and that added value is the solution. Keep your idea simple and focused. Some of the most successful apps were BIG ideas that everyone questioned, “why has no one ever thought about that before?”
  4. Business model: Most startups are just too optimistic about the ease with which they will acquire new customers – after all, love is blind. Just remember the golden rule: you have to be able to acquire your customers for less money than they will generate in value of the lifetime of your relationship with them. Once you figure that out, ensure that you find a scalable way of acquiring them. Make sure you help us find the true commercial viability and potential of growth in your BIG ideas.
  5. Feasibility: Contrary to popular belief, BIG ideas aren’t that difficult to find. The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the execution. We’ll be looking for technical, operational and commercially aware teams. You got to be able to deliver. We live in a results orientated world in which intent is not rewarded.
  6. Data Sets: Lisbon City Hall has released more than one hundred data sets related to subjects like, tourism, education,  sports, culture, Entertainment & Shoping, Services, Health,  Accommodation, Architecture and Restaurantes & Bars. We will be looking at how you will use them to improve the lives of those visiting living and working in the city of Lisbon. Make sure you also check out the City SDK information for developers.

Henry Ford once said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do”; we say, “you can’t build success on an app you are going to eventually release”.

Who’s going to participate?

Well anyone, anywhere, really, though you will have to be at least 18 years of age. We suspect the lawyers sneaked this one in. You will most probably fit into one of these two groups:

  1. You work for iMatch, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa, Vodafone, SoftLayer, SendGrid etc or any of the other organizations involved in the competition. You may also be related to someone in these organizations, or simply equating a quickie divorce in order to be eligible – don’t do it, well at least not for this reason. You can still apply, though you will not be eligible for any of the great prizes. You can eventually earn respect though, and also see your BIG idea reach the masses – just not with our money…
  2. Ideally you have proven your age and know no one even remotely associated with the above companies. Don’t worry being a Vodafone customer is fine, in fact, it’s great, though completely irrelevant in any and all of the judging phases.

When you apply, please ensure that you choose the correct avenue, as any disqualification is an ugly affair, for all involved. Also confirm that you do not apply on behalf of a corporation, aren’t affiliated to any major organization or just received a hefty round of funding from a VC, Angel Investor, government grant, accelerator and/or incubator or bank loan – well the latter just means things could start to get silly as soon as you try to explain to your bank manager the real reason for the loan.

This is an opportunity for wannabee entrepreneurs, inventors or just mad individuals who want to change the world. Make sure you read all the legal stuff, courtesy of our judiciary committee – it’s important and it’s, well, legal…

You could be the next prom queen or king 

Very much like the American tradition of selecting the prom King and prom Queen, one app will be selected by popular vote – that’s right, the one with the most friends, acquaintances and great content. This is one prize the judging committee has no influence over. You obviously have to make through the initial judging, and be in development. Lost? Go read the legal stuff – we said it was important…

So get your old school pals, extended family, past girlfriends and boyfriends, and acquaintances who slowly faded into oblivion, involved. This is one of those times that all those real Twitter followers, Facebook ”likes” and LinkedIn connections might just come in handy. You knew all that networking would eventually pay off, right?

This is a great opportunity to fast track your way to the final and avoid all that sweat, anxiety, and angst that live pitches and demos generate. It’s also an important aspect for any startup, creating a community, engaged and centred on your BIG idea. We’ll show you how to do that in the insights, but it all boils down to not assuming marketing as an after thought. Build a following, a community and with some luck you might just reach the tipping point – the ultimate movement. You’ll also benefit from all those that will be vying for their friends’ BIG ideas and just happen to come across your BIG idea, slipping you a secret vote of confidence. Shhh…