Municipal Innovation Challenge

Municipalities are facing different challenges starting from managing their budgets efficiently to maintaining good infrastructure to increasing the quality of public service delivery etc. On the other hand, active youth have great ideas that could boost the municipality’s work but there is a communication gap between both of them.

For this aim, we will organize a 24 hours Hackathon where we will invite 3 municipalities to present their challenges to participants that should come out with an idea that solves that specific challenge. We will invite design thinking and pitch coaches to help teams in this process. Each team will be composed of 4 participants including a representative of a municipality.

There will be 10 teams for each challenge and then, there will be three different winning teams.

We are planning to start with a community survey and a design thinking-based series of private workshops with 3 different-sized municipalities to identify one specific challenge per municipality. Our first collaborative prototype will be with the municipality of El Mourouj, a city of 150 000 residents. It will take place on November 30th at their premises. The workshop will start with the municipality heads of commissions presenting their challenges in order to convince participants (approximately 30 persons composed of active youth and Civil Society representatives from El Mourouj) to work on a group with them. Once participants choose which commission they will join, they will work in groups to prepare a pitch that convinces the whole audience, who will then vote to choose the most important challenge we will take to the Hackathon.

Once the problems are selected, we will move forward to the competition part, planned for late January), where teams will be awarded for their ideas. The last phase will be the solution implementation that we will work on with incubators.

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Hello Ahmad and welcome to Edgeryders.

It’s an interesting idea you have. In order to make sure I understand, can I ask you to provide us with the following information?

every event the organiser to add the following information to their event description:

Add 1-2 paragraphs to give us a background to the event:
Have you already good contacts with people within municipalities, and if yes which ones would they be? Also, what is your understanding of “Smart Cities” and why would you be highlighting this concept in your challenge ?

  • Explain the issue and how it is affecting people
    Here I would like to have to concrete examples from your own environment, and how they are connected with the municipality concerned. How does the issue affect people’s lives, and what are some solutions people are already trying to solve/or cope with the problems. This is for us to better understand how aware you are of the work already being done on the issue.

  • Describe how investing in solving it, could also solve other problems that people care about.

  • What steps does the challenge involve, and how are the ideas then translated into action on the ground? Have you run or participated in this challenge before?
  • Introduce the approach that we are taking to do this: Hackathon, online mentorship, incubation and budget to deliver MVP via the OCI Lab Program.

Add information about the format of the event

When you say hackathon, what in practice does this involve? Who does what? What happens before, during and after the physical event?

Add 1 paragraph information about each person who is involved in organising a local event + Their photo

Who are the people who would be running the hackathon itself. Can you tell me about yourself/yourselves?

Hello Nadia,

Thank you for your reply.

Actually we have contacts in 2 municipalities in Tunis and another one out of Tunis. I didn’t mention them because the project needs to be approved before.

The aim of the hackathon is to improve the quality of public service delivery provided by municipalities. Many actors are recommending solutions but few are focusing on ICT as a method to solve the challenges cities are facing, that’s why it is called a “Smart City” hackathon.

The innovation we are bringing here is that it is the first time that a Hackathon takes municipalities as a subject and connects them to problem solvers among citizens. Second, also for the first time, we will be mixing municipalities representatives with developers in the same team and this will be of a great impact even after the end of the event.

To be more specific, our goal is to come out with ICT based ideas that would boost the work of municipalities in the following activities which, if improved, can make the life of citizens a way better: waste management, parking management, infrastructure management, energy conservation regarding public lighting, providing building permits, tax collection, revenues ‘ads collection etc. Who doesn’t want waste to be collected on time, building permits to get faster, waiting time on queues reduced, constructions deadlines to be respected, green sites to be increased, historical sites to be preserved, citizens be more involved etc? Maybe there are easy ways to improve that but municipalities they don’t see it because they already have a huge workload? Maybe they need help from fresh minds who think outside of the box?

Good examples can be found within municipality of Kairouan which implemented an app to monitor the garbage collection and municipality of Djerba that is using GIS (Geographic Information System) tool to empower interaction with citizens.

The first step will be to launch the call for participation online, meanwhile the selection of coaches, mentors and jury will take place. The objective is to have at least 10 teams. Each team is composed of 3 to 4 members and it is required to have at least one developer among its members.

In the first day, the 24h challenge will start with the representatives of the three municipalities who will express their biggest challenges to participants, who will then have the opportunity to ask them questions before choosing which problem they will work on. Right after, we will invite some municipalities who have already integrated ICT-based solutions in their processes and showcase them as examples. This will be followed by a design thinking training session for all teams to help them in the ideation. After that, the timer will be on and teams will start working on a prototype that represents their solutions. There will be mentors to give them pieces of advice.

In the second day, there will be a pitch training and after that, teams will pitch their ideas in front of a jury panel composed of municipalities’ representatives and ICT experts. The event ends with the announcement of the three winning teams.

Well, with the new wave of #Peoplewant movement that is taking place after the presidential elections, we are not only providing to citizens a real platform where then can have direct interactions with their municipalities but also a safe place where they can turn their recommendations into reality while feeling involved.

The success of our first event will result in the replication of this model in other municipalities. In fact, we consider that our work won’t end up there. We will rely on municipal councils and sponsors support to provide seed capital to the different winners and we will work with other partners on the incubation phase.

The team behind this challenge is me Ahmed Hadhri, a community builder who co-launched two coworking spaces in Tunis, organized several events and has been very active in the Tunisian entrepreneurship ecosystem. In addition to Mehdi El Batti, a Financial Management Analyst within the World Bank and the genius behind the “Hack 4 Transparency”, a successful Hackathon organized this year with the court of auditors. Both of us have the required experience and network to make this “Smart City” challenge a success.


Hope this answers your questions. I will be at your disposal for further information. I will send you the budget in an additional comment.

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hi @Ahmad1 thanks, this is helpful for me to understand. Hackathons are great for unleashing a lot of energy, bringing people together to find potential teammates etc. I have been thinking a bit about what you are trying to do. To me it makes sense to bring together people across the different sides of an issue. We used to do a lot of this and it was great for the people at the institutional side who got a lot of energy and ideas that they could then use to shape procurement that then most of the participants risk being excluded from for many reasons of which yourself and Ahmed ar probably already aware. I think there are a number of things that could be developed in order to make this experience more generative for everyone involved.

I would start by reflecting on what happens once participants leave the room? What is a good follow up process that people can plug into in order to keep working on their projects for the long period it often takes to go from idea to a viable and sustainable solution.

Here I mean sustainable in two senses: 1) has a mechanism to build and sustain enough engagement from community of affected people (which includes people in public institutions) 2) has secured a fairly stable source of revenue to cover costs of materials, people’s time and whatever debts are owed (including people’s sweat equity).

When you are at the beginning of your journey, it is crucial that you are exposed to the existence of relevant domain specific expertise, and have access to a network of people who can help you find your next step/ Or even just give you moral support. For me, being embedded in supportive communities of open minded, creative and very motivated people from different walks of live has been a key enabler. My own trajectory as an entrepreneur has consisted of having conversations that have unleashed a cascade of events.

I can share with you my own methodology:

  1. Convene an expert event around a topic: Always focused on taking a deeper look at the actual technology itself, the opportunities as well as the risks that come with it. In this case it is a workshop on AI
  2. Reach out via my/our extended network to find people with deep experience and knowledge relevant to that topic to invite them to the workshop. Make sure that at least some of them are connected to possible opportunities to support/encourage participants to continue working together.
  3. Ahead of the event I conduct with each person an in depth interview about the topic such as this one with Marco

You notice that these articles are posted on the platform by the person who has been interviewed? This means that people can then get back in touch with them and continue a conversation, ask them for input on their initiatives etc. We connect them with other participants in a community of mutual support. Over time people start sharing with the community opportunities for paid work, skill development etc.

Another thing that could be worthwhile looking into is how this can plug into/partner with the online Peer to Peer mentoring and incubation process that @zmorda is building?

Hey Nadia,
Thank you for your comment, really helpful.
I totally agree with what you said and I would add strategic partnerships to ensure the sustainability of the project in addition to the two points you mentioned.
Thank you also for sharing your methodlogy, thats great. I can see that your personal expertise and the discussions on the platform will be of a great help to our project.

Hello Ahmed Could you please share with us the first workshop agenda ? As well as how we could take part of this workshop @Ahmad1 thank you

Hey Zmorda,

Here is the Agenda of the workshop:

9 am: Get to know each other/ Ice breaker
9.30 am: Presentation of the program (Me)
9.45 am: Presentation of the municipality’s activities and duties to the audience (Municipality representative)
10.15 am: Head of municipality’s commissions presentations
11.15 am: Q&A
11.30 am: Break
11.45 am: Participants choose the commission they will work on
12 am: Dispatching of teams and and Empathy workshop (team work)

12.30 am: Lunch

1.30 pm: Team-work on each commission
3 pm: Break
3.15 pm: Teams pitch why the problem they worked on is the most important one
4 pm: Participants vote & Hackathon Challenge selection
4.15 pm: Conclusion and next steps
4.30 pm: Networking

Number of participants: 30 people (5 from the municipality and 25 from the city’s youth)
Facilitator: Mehdi El Batti
Trainer: Ahmed Guidara

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For the icebreaker i suggest

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Thanks Nadia, seems cool!