Freedom Inspired: An Idea Hackathon Lets Participants Pitch Their Ideas

The Steamboat Institute’s annual Freedom Conference has become well known as a source of ideas and inspiration from some of the nation’s foremost experts on public policy. But this year, SI offered an innovative opportunity for attendees to take the stage and share their ideas for freedom to solve big problems facing the world today.

Freedom Inspired: An Idea Hackathon was created by the Steamboat Institute to engage attendees, especially younger participants in the Freedom Festival Tent, and let them compete for the opportunity to share their ideas with the audience on the main stage.

Starting Friday morning, attendees in the Freedom Festival Tent were able to choose from a set of challenges ranging from global poverty to college affordability, or pick another issue they were passionate about. They then signed up for a time to pitch their solution to a panel of celebrity judges:

The Freedom Inspired Judges

Dr. Matthew Spalding, Associate Vice President and Dean, Hillsdale College
Kelly Maher, Executive Director of Revealing Politics and Compass Colorado
Wayne Laugesen, Editorial Page Editor, Colorado Springs Gazette

Initially expecting a handful of participants, the organizers were overwhelmed when over a dozen individuals and teams signed up to pitch their ideas. From election integrity to illegal immigration, participants pitched innovative ideas for freedom to solve problems, refuting the liberal claim that the only solutions are government solutions.

After a marathon two hours of hearing pitches, asking tough questions, and debating, the judges had to choose a winner. Based on who had the best idea for freedom to solve big problems, here are the top three finalists for the inaugural Freedom Inspired:

3rd Place: Madison Rising

Madison Rising, America’s most patriotic rock band, talked about their approach to advocating freedom through entertainment. They made a convincing case for the need to advocate freedom in the culture, not just in political circles.

2nd Place: Jonathan Lockwood

Jonathan pitched the need for Americans, especially millennials, to pay attention to the situation with Iran and the nuclear agreement being pushed by President Obama. With so few young Americans focused on foreign affairs, there is little awareness of the tremendous danger presented by Obama’s proposed agreement with Iran to reduce sanctions.

1st Place: Evan Herman

Evan presented a compelling solution to the rising cost of college by advocating a return to apprenticeships, where young, aspiring workers can forgo a traditional college education to work alongside master craftsmen in a range of industries to learn the trade from experts.

Evan’s win is even more impressive given that he just move to Colorado a month ago from Chicago.

In addition to getting to speak at the Steamboat Institute’s closing luncheon, Evan also took home $500 for his first place finish.

Second place finisher Jonathan Lockwood took home a $200 gift card to the Steamboat Resort, and Madison Rising received a $100 gift card to the Steamboat Resort.

Freedom Inspired organizers, judges and finalists

Congratulations to everyone who participated and pitched their ideas for freedom to make a difference! A special thanks to Liz Wheeler, who coordinated the hackathon and inspired many participants to get involved.

Liberty presents the best hope for the future of mankind, to lift people out of poverty, improve the environment, and create a better world today and for future generations. As statism seeps throughout the world, retaking ground once safe for freedom, it’s encouraging to know there are still freedom fighters who are equipped with the ideas and passion to fight back and make sure that freedom still rings throughout the world.