Baltimore’s Fearless and SmartLogic are taking their frequent partnership to a U.S. platform: The downtown digital services firm and Canton-based software development firm will be working on the federal government’s Challenge.gov.
It’s a site where the government crowdsources solutions from the public. Operated by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), challenge.gov runs open prize competitions among the public to solve challenges, and the public can also submit ideas. As FedScoop has reported, it has a mix of coding, citizen science and other open source efforts where folks can help the federal government from outside.
Formally, Fearless won a contract from GSA for development of the site, with SmartLogic supporting.
“This is an interesting project for Fearless because it allows people to have direct access to the federal government and drive innovation,” Fearless CEO Delali Dzirasa said. “The more creative and compelling and competitive the idea or challenge, the better it is for everyone.”
The development work by Fearless and SmartLogic will bring a simplified process to federal agencies for uploading the content and challenges where the public responds. This includes software development and design work on a new platform, among other features.
It brings together two local tech companies who have been acquainted for over 10 years, from the time they were in incubators — Fearless at bwtech@UMBC and SmartLogic at ETC.
“It was clear back then that we had many things in common — enthusiasm for open source technologies, progressive business practices, active concern for our communities, and inclusive work styles,” SmartLogic President Yair Flicker said. “We’ve long respected Fearless, to the point where we helped one of our developer apprentices land a job with Fearless.”
They’ve also been leading community organizers and supporters. That’s where partnership was playing out recently, working together on Hack Baltimore, a citywide hackathon that’s crowdsourcing ideas and making civic connections ahead of next year’s event. And they teamed up to donate to four organizations for #GivingTuesday.
Now the partnership is extending to client-facing work. Fearless mostly works with the public sector and nonprofits, while SmartLogic has worked mostly with private clients. But this project presented a chance to collaborate on a client-facing effort, given Fearless’ efforts to connect government agencies with companies that traditionally worked in the private sector.
“With Hack Baltimore and with Challenge.gov, the more creative and compelling idea, the better,” Dzirasa said. “Open-source projects like this are a win-win all around. The impact will be felt beyond the initial ideas and involvement.”
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