Policyhack is not just for startups

James Riley
Editorial Director

Newly-appointed Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy says his ‘policy hackathon’ is open to all parts of the tech eco-system, and is not reserved only for startups, but would include representation from small businesses, multinationals, government, and the research sector.

Mr Roy raised eyebrows when he announced the so-called ‘policyhack’ – to be held next Saturday October 17 – in partnership with Sydney-based startup accelerator BlueChilli.

BlueChilli will physically host the event at its CBD premises and provide facilitation services through the day. The Google-aligned startup sector lobby StartupAus will produce a report from the proceedings.

Building relationships: Wyatt Roy and BlueChilli CEO Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin

Mr Roy said several multinationals – including Microsoft and Google – were assisting with the organisation, and who would be represented on the day.

But Mr Roy said the event aimed to cover the breadth of innovation policy and discussion through the day would not be restricted to a startup only agenda.

Beyond startups, Mr Roy said mixed teams would work together developing policy ideas to foster growth of innovation industries from biotech, to agritech, fintech, renewables and the resources sector.

He said about 100 representatives from across industries and government would be invited to attend the event. Some of these attendees will be invited directly, and some through the formal application process at policyhack.gov.au.

About 40 per cent of attendees will be from government departments, including Industry, Finance, Communications and Prime Minister & Cabinet.

“Like any hackathon, there is real value in this event not just in the ideas that get brought up, but also in the networking between different [groups of interest],” Mr Roy told InnovationAus.com. “I would hope that the relationships that get created will be ongoing.”

Mr Roy told InnovationAus.com that he wants the event to be as transparent as realistically possible, within the logistical constraints of an event. The list of attendees at policyhack will be made public, and journalists have been invited to spend the day at the event in an access all areas capacity.

“This is about as transparent as a conference event can be. It is actually the opposite of what happens in Canberra when there is a summit or discussion, [which] are always behind closed doors and you might not even know who is in the room,” Mr Roy said.

“I want this to be as open as possible. Everyone will know who’s in the room. Everyone will understand the process. There will be journalists covering the event. I don’t think we can be more transparent than that,” he said.

The so-called policyhack aims to surface new thinking in the way government develops policy for the innovation sector. Mr Roy says the process is open to everyone. You can register for the event here, although it is not entirely clear how attendees are selected from those who apply to attend.

Mr Roy told InnovationAus.com the event would also raise the awareness of innovation culture among the public servants at the event.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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