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Friday, 16 December 2016

Innovator Summit Semi-Finalists Announced!

I, along with my Google+ friend, Jill Ball, had the pleasure of being part of a several person team of judges to whittle down the list of submissions for the Innovator Showdown at RootsTech 2017. Of 42 submissions, we were given 21 to review for inclusion in the top 10. Being curious, I each checked out all 42 just to be sure we weren't missing out on something fantastic. 

The judging criteria was:

Family History
Submissions must be directly or indirectly related to family history.

Quality of Idea
Includes creativity and originality.

Implementation of Idea
Includes how well the idea was executed by the developer.

Potential Impact

Will users get excited about this, is it applicable, does it solve a genuine problem?

For me, it was also a case of not being a re-hash of programs that were already available. I wanted to see things that were new, fresh, original. I considered the impact on the lives of genealogists, whether those genealogists were professionals or hobbyists. Would the submission make some aspect of researching family history easier? Would it fill a need and solve a problem. Would it simplify processes? 

After some discussion as a team, here is the list of Semi-finalists: 

Champollion 2.0: 

Holy Cannoli I loved this one! This one promises to be a new friend for family history researchers trying to read old documents that are less than legible. Not the script itself, but seeing through stains, smears, overexposed or underexposed light. Can't wait to see how this one does in the finals. 

OldNews USA:

Others were more excited than I was abou this one, mostly because I don't have a great need for using USA newspapers. But the fact that you can access newspapers on your mobile device through this app is pretty amazing. I think this one has great potential.


This one is cool. It uses modern technology to share the story behind the photos. Like the old writing on the back of old photos, you can tell future generations what the story was behind the photo. Another one with great potential. 

CSI: Crowd Sourced Indexing:

This one has a great place in genealogy as well. It promises to fill great gaps for genealogy societies that are working together on transcription projects. It essentially takes on the place of project manager, making the entire process of crowd sourced indexing less stressful. 

Double Match Triangulator:
Love this one! A way to make sense of all of the data we get when we get our DNA results back. And it sorts everything onto a spreadsheet to help us clearly see where the matches with other are. Another definite winner. 

This one has been about for a bit but is worth a deeper look. Emberall is an app that allows cloud based photo and story sharing. Emberall has some competition in the field but does have potential.

Another great innovation. You can scan, store, share photos and add stories. It allows people to record the story behind the photo and converts that into text which is fully searchable. The app also allows photo editing and minor photo restoration. The app is fully connected to FamilySearch and pulls in newspapers, documents and a whole lot more. 

This one is similar to the others that allow cloud based storage and sharing, but it also allows other family members to jump in and transcribe things like family letters, to tell stories about some of the photos. Kindex has combined cloud-based storage and sharing with crowd sourced indexing! It's a win-win. 

This one works on the same premise as Ancestry's "We're Related" app but people don't need to a subscription to Ancestry in order to make full use of Cuzins. 

Love that this one is designed specifically to engage our youth. Their cloud-based family tree site has the look, feel and ease of use of Facebook, is fully integrated with FamilySearch and allows kids to share their ancestor's stories on Social media. 

I can't wait to see what the future has in store with all of the bright minds that have come together to make submissions to the Innovator Showdown. And I am looking forward to meeting and speaking with the 10 semi-finalists. Meet the semi-finalists on the RootsTech website: 

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