Silicon Flatirons’ GELA Holds Third Yearly Pitch Night

Students and public employees pitch government innovation to top officials

Kristina Heyl, Emily Backus, Shelby Johnson and Bobby Dishell of “Team Hearings” present their idea for an online liquor license petitioning system at the GELA Pitch Night Wednesday. / HANNAH BLATTER

Increasing involvement in liquor license hearings, cutting long jail processing times for low-risk defendants, more efficiency for the Department of Local Affairs and recruiting foster families: Teams of students from the University of Colorado’s Silicon Flatirons Center and public employees pitched ideas for improving efficiency and saving money in these public-sector areas to a panel of Colorado’s high-ranking civic leaders.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Lieutenant Gov. Donna Lynne and Techstars partner Nicole Glaros listened to each group’s eight-minute pitch and then peppered them with questions, feedback and praise. The judges and other speakers spotlighted the pitches for their injection of innovation into the typically slow-moving government.

“The idea of innovation and government coming together isn’t the most natural combination of words that you can imagine,” said David Edinger, the City and County of Denver’s chief information and performance officer. “In fact, the natural state of government that I’ve learned over the last 10 years …is one of compliance, not performance.” The Governmental Entrepreneurial Leadership Accelerator is a catalyst for government change, he said.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the July 2, 2018 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.