GovHack 2015: a wildly successful idea that keeps spawning more


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What’s good about GovHack for government? Former national winner of the event, Craig Thomler writes on how, six years after it began, GovHack continues to pay dividends for Australia and now the region.

While innovation is one of the priorities now for many government agencies, most focus their efforts on easily managed evolutionary innovation rather than blue sky high-risk projects.

So it’s fortunate that every year in Australia a small group of volunteers runs the non-profit GovHack event, enlisting programmers, designers, analysts and entrepreneurs to “hack government for good”, using public data and innovative ideas to develop novel services and insights that may find their way into agency services or commercial digital tools.

GovHack, now run as part of the Public Sector Innovation month, began as a one-city event in 2009 with funding from the Government 2.0 Taskforce. When next run in 2012 it reached two cities, then eight in 2013 and grew to 13 in 2014.

This year GovHack ran on 3-5 July across 31 locations, including six in New Zealand, attracting over 1800 participants eager to innovate and find value in open government data. In fact, more “Govhackers” registered for just the Melbourne city location than all of GovHack three years ago.

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