People on computers

Technology can serve any purpose, including the greater good. That inspired entrepreneur David Clark to start an annual competition, the Call for Code Global Challenge.

“The basic idea was to create this ‘Justice League’ for good,” he says, “where we would encourage developers around the world to solve social challenges with tech solutions and really create what would be akin to the Nobel Prize for developers.”

Co-founded with IBM and in partnership with the UN, the contest offers cash prizes and helps bring promising ideas to market. It issues a different challenge each year.

Last year’s competition focused on preparing for natural disasters, which are becoming more common as climate change causes more extreme weather.

“The innovations that came out of it quite frankly were amazing and are actually being deployed right now,” Clark says.

For example, the winning team was led by a firefighter who lost a friend to smoke inhalation. He created a wearable device that monitors air quality and firefighters’ vital signs.

This year, the Call for Code is seeking solutions for two of the world’s most pressing problems: COVID-19 and climate change.

So soon, the world may see other winning ideas moving to the front lines.

Reporting credit: Stephanie Manuzak/ChavoBart Digital Media.