Jade launches internal development contest

Christchurch software developers are stepping outside their usual world of serious computer programming. Jade Corporation has launched a program called Innovate to encourage staff to think like entrepreneurs. Staff are competing to create applications for Apple's iPhone. Once finished, the applications will be uploaded to Apple's online App Store. The person or team with the most downloads will win an iPhone paid for by Jade for two years. The prize was worth $3300. Jade is ready to give up to three iPhones away if the winner is a team. "We want to be seen as an innovative company and behave in a more innovative way and that starts with the people," Jade chief innovation officer John Ascroft says. Jade was spending about $250,000 on the project, but it was mostly staff time, Ascroft says. The competition has been more popular than Ascroft expected. Jade had planned to run two one-day technology courses to teach staff how to write iPhone programmes. After 70 developers signed up for the contest it has had to schedule six courses. Staff are being given half a day each week to work on the project. Jade's developers designed software that moves Europe's trains, controls world ports and solves crimes for police forces. Designing an application was different to what they were used to, Ascroft said. "It's something that is exciting and interesting for the staff. It's a good thing for the staff to do." Read more at Computerworld.

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