“The power of the City's tech ecosystem is its potential to create real tech-driven solutions that enhance the qualify of life in the City. The BigApps competition taps directly into that potential.” – Mayor Bill de Blasio


NYC BigApps is the premier civic innovation competition in New York City that challenges designers, developers, academics, entrepreneurs, and New Yorkers at large to apply their know-how to improve New York City. Participants can submit solutions that leverage data and technology to solve for three major issues for New Yorkers: transportation, access to knowledge, and community resiliency.

Leading up to the April 30 submission deadline, competition participants were offered seven ideation and prototyping workshops that helped them develop products and services that address pressing challenges faced by New York City youth, immigrants, and seniors.

Workshops provided training around the five major steps in product development: define, discover, design, test, and refine, including tools for user research and low-cost prototyping. Participants also had access to mentors and office hours with leading experts.

In May, competition judges will select BigApps finalists, who will have the opportunity to pitch their solutions to the judges at the Finalist Expo & Awards Ceremony, scheduled for May 23, 2017. NYC BigApps 2017 winners will receive cash awards, marketing and promotion, acceptance into Civic Hall Labs’ civic accelerator program, and will be eligible to be piloted on hundreds of LinkNYC kiosks across the City’s five boroughs.


Dollar Sign

Winning teams will receive $30,000 in cash and prizes, including product development resources and admission into Civic Hall Labs’ Civic Accelerator program to turn winning ideas into early stage startups.

Cash Awards

Grand Prize winners for each of the challenge areas will receive monetary rewards to further develop their solutions.

Implementation Support

Competition winners may also be eligible for the following prizes:

  • Admission to the Civic Accelerator program powered by Civic Hall Labs, including expert instruction, mentorship, and networking.
  • Opportunity to pilot solution on LinkNYC tablets throughout the City’s five boroughs.
  • Mentorship and product development resources from Challenge Partners, including pro bono legal services and discounted classes and workshops.

competition timeline

Competition Launch: Open for Submissions

NYC BigApps 2017 officially launches and is open for submissions.
Check out the Official Rules, Terms, and Conditions for eligibility requirements.

Introduction To Challenges (Inspire + Define)

This kick-off workshop will introduce participants to the BigApps 2017
challenge topics and overview the design process we’ll be using throughout
the workshop series. From this session, participants will learn how to
define their challenge area, get inspiration around the challenge topic,
and scope the research phase for product development.

Workshop: Research & Understand (Discover)

In this session, we will apply a human-centered and empathic
approach to design research and ethnography in order to
deeply understand unmet user needs. Some of these activities
will include user and subject matter expert interviews, as
well as observations and secondary research. Participants will
come away with an understanding of the core principles of design

Workshop: Synthesize Research (Discover)

In this session, we will identify patterns across qualitative and quantitative data sets.
We’ll explore open source data & reports, interpret qualitative data from our interviews
and learn data visualization techniques. From there, we’ll generate insights to
highlight the opportunities for initial product concept direction.

Workshop: Understand The Constraints (Design)

From here we’ll begin a series of rapid and iterative brainstorming
processes that will lead us through prototyping and ideation.
This session will focus on using the research from the previous
weeks to start making design decisions and scoping product prototypes.

Workshop: Ideation & Prototype Building (Design)

At this stage of the workshop series, we’ll “build to think.” We’ll
rapidly prototype our concepts in order to get a better sense of how
it more tangibly supports the needs of our users. This will
be an opportunity for teams to get early stage feedback
from a variety of experts, mentors, and community members.

Workshop: Prototype Testing (Test)

In this workshop, we will live-test our prototypes with users
and subject matter experts. We will incorporate users into
the design process through this co-creation session and
rapidly learn how to better the product functionality and design.
We will also focus on different methods for gathering feedback
outside of the workshop.

Workshop: User Feedback & Learnings (Refine)

During our last workshop of the series, we will have the opportunity
to learn from our end-users: youth, seniors, and immigrants. Teams and
innovators will work with their target user group, learn about their
daily activities and needs, and get feedback on their ideas and prototypes.
We will also highlight the importance of storytelling to get to the “why”
behind the prototype, and participants will come away with a refined
framework to submit to the NYC BigApps 2017 Competition.

April 30

Submission Deadline

All solutions must be submitted by 11:59 PM EDT on the due date.

May 23

Finalist Expo & Award Ceremony

Finalists will expo their solutions at a public event and
NYC BigApps 2017 winners will be announced.

See Full Timeline

Eligibility, Submission, & Evaluation

BigApps is designed to catalyze the development of new innovations that have the potential to make an impact on the City of New York. We welcomes apps, websites, devices, or any other tech tool from individuals, teams, and companies seeking to improve life in New York City.

To submit, you must complete the submission form and indicate the Challenge track for which you’d like to compete. All elements on the submission form must be complete for your submission to be eligible.

For the full eligibility, submission, and evaluation details, read the Official NYC BigApps 2017 Terms & Conditions. Read more


Find a Team Member

Do you have a great idea for BigApps, but need to round out your team with designers, developers, or other teammates? Interested in offering your services to another team? Check out the NYC BigApps 2017 group on CollabFinder, where you can post a project and find collaborators. Join the BigApps group

NYC Data Portal

NYC Open Data makes the wealth of public data generated by various New York City agencies and other City organizations available for public use. As part of an initiative to improve the accessibility, transparency, and accountability of City government, this catalog offers access to a repository of government-produced, machine-readable data sets. Access the NYC Data Portal

NYC Research and Reports

City agencies regularly publish research and reports with in-depth analysis of a variety of issues that affect the daily lives of New Yorkers. In addition to these reports, the official website for the City of New York has a full list of city agencies and programs. Check out nyc.gov


If you have any questions about the NYC BigApps 2017 competition, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. If you can’t find the answer to your inquiry, email your questions to moc.sppagibcyn@ofni.

Terms and Conditions

Make sure to read the full Official Terms and Conditions for NYC BigApps 2017 before submitting your solution to the competition. Read more


Stay up to date on the exciting media coverage of the current and past BigApps competitions. Read more