This competition is taking boring data and turning it into exciting innovations.

Imagine this scenario: You’re late to an appointment and your apartment is a disaster.

Clothes are strewn about, your phone could be in the bathroom, your keys are somewhere in the kitchen, and there’s no sign of your wallet.

Sound familiar?


Well, for an entrepreneur who’s trying to move their business forward, the tons of information out there, especially on the internet, can be overwhelming to sift through — just as challenging as it is for you to find your phone, keys, wallet, and clean clothes when you’re in a rush.

To be successful with your business, it helps to seek out and understand certain data, like competitor pricing, tax demands, news on technological advances, as well as many other things you might not even be aware of.

That’s where Go Code Colorado comes in.

This is a government-sponsored competition that brings entrepreneurs, business partners, and developers together to come up with ways to make the best use of the information that’s available.

Hashtagitude/Go Code Colorado

As the first and only statewide effort like it, Go Code Colorado features a series of networking and collaboration events that take place every year.

Teams from all over Colorado meet with mentors to develop ideas on how to best use public info. They then turn those ideas — in the form of apps and other software — over to judges.

And it’s a great time for something like this to exist because many new laws have passed — on the state and federal level — that make more government data accessible to the public, increasing transparency and helping various organizations in new ways.

“We think that public data can be an asset to business decision makers,” says Andrew Cole, project manager of Go Code Colorado.

Hashtagitude/Go Code Colorado

“Open data has a little something for everyone,” he adds, from big cities to small business owners.  

Cole studied politics at Regis University, graduating in 2005, and logged in four years of work in various capacities on Capitol Hill. But now he’s immersed himself in Colorado’s burgeoning tech industry. Cole has toured the state, meeting with people from both urban and rural areas. In particular, he’s also learned how many people are using data and technology to help them build businesses.

“We have a very vibrant startup scene with really smart, creative people who can do cool things with data,” Cole explains. “But they don’t often think of public data as a resource, and there’s a lack of understanding where you might get data, who to ask for it, and how.”

Go Code Colorado is changing that by encouraging people to think more creatively about how to use this incredible resource.

Kelly Erin Photography/Go Code Colorado

Both finalists and winners of the competition have gone on to make great things.

For example, in the inaugural Go Code Colorado competition, a company called Beagle Score emerged victorious. (First prize got them a $25,000 contract with the state.) This company developed an app that gathers info geared toward helping an entrepreneur find the best location for their business.

Beagle Score automatically weighs data on area taxes, neighborhood features, infrastructure, success of past businesses, local competition, and more to give a potential business location a grade. The higher the grade, the better the chances for success there.

“Technically, all of the data behind it is public,” Cole says of Beagle Score, “but if you’re a bakery owner, it’s going to be hard to track all that down and find it in its most recent form and bring it all together.”

Though just three team finalists each year are awarded contracts with the state, everyone's a winner in the Go Code Colorado competition.

That's because all the contestants, regardless of the results, get the chance to bounce their ideas off like-minded people.

Jeremy Poland/Go Code Colorado

In the 2015 competition coder Doug Clayton met graphic designer Adam Cochran, and they decided to join forces to develop an app that would alert Colorado travelers to weather and road conditions, while providing them real-time tips on nearby recreation sites and lodging.

Clayton and Cochran’s idea helped them earn a spot at the competition’s “mentoring weekend” where they got the chance to brainstorm ways to take their app to another level. Though their app wasn’t quite built up enough to make it to the next round, they kept working on it after the event.

They’re now in the later stages of development for what they call “skiosks,” which are computer screens set up in various businesses along Colorado roads that inform travelers about ski conditions, travel routes, and attractions. For their innovation, Clayton and Cochran were awarded a five-year contract from the state’s Department of Transportation.

Hashtagitude/Go Code Colorado

“I often get comments like 'I didn’t know the government did cool things like this,'” Cole says.

And it all started with Cole's experiences as a university student. "My Regis education created a habit of continually challenging my own assumptions and considering [a] variety of perspectives," he writes in an email. "This has been a core aspect of my professional success."

And an open mind, curiosity, and creativity is what Go Code Colorado is all about. Each year, this competition inspires more technological advancements, in a way that simplifies the entire data-collecting process and helps businesses flourish.

With public data becoming more transparent, who knows what kinds of innovative ideas will come next?

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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