Chapter 6. Designing Your CAC

Now that you’ve identified your goals, estimated a budget, reviewed your data resources and assessed your political support, it’s time for the fun part: designing your competition!

In this chapter we walk you through all the elements of a CAC that you can shape to create the outcomes you want: the participation incentives, prize categories, judging criteria, judging process, judge selection, eligible apps and events and communications. The legal version of the rules and regulations we discuss below can be found at

Participation Incentives

Cash is a popular incentive for driving participation, and with good reason. Everyone likes winning money, and it makes a terrific hook for media coverage. However, developers decide to participate in a competition for a range of reasons. Socrata’s Open Government Data Benchmark Study found that developers were primarily motivated by the desire to have an impact on people’s lives, their interest in the challenge and their personal commitment to open data.[11] Just 2.5% identified profitability as their primary motivator, which makes sense when you consider that building an app is expensive and in a competition there is no guarantee of any return.

This is good news for CAC organizers because it opens up a wide range of incentives apart from cash, such as those explained in the next few sections.

Multiple Award Categories

For developers and people who want to hire them, projects are more important than ...

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