PolicyHack reactions: more than the sum of its parts?

By The Mandarin

October 19, 2015

Not sure what to make of Wyatt Roy’s #PolicyHack on Saturday? Here are three quick takes from some of the attendees.

Gavin Heaton: “Looking down from above, the scene is one of organised chaos.”

“Larry Marshall, CEO of CSIRO, was so taken with Erin Watson-Lynn’s team proposal to teach entrepreneurship to students, that he offered her the support of the CSIRO student program. And based in the judging comments, I half expected Shark Tank’s Steve Baxter to throw his own support into this program as well. The ask was minimal and the potential significant and visionary.

“No doubt, Blue Chilli and Wyatt Roy’s office will make the ‘official pitch videos’ available as soon as possible.

“The PolicyHack is the beginning not the end of the process

“So, with hundreds of people dedicating their time, expertise and energy to Wyatt Roy’s PolicyHack, what happens next? There are a number of ways forward – but the politicians and public servant mentors kept advising us – the policy wheels move slower that what we have seen over the weekend.”

Anne-Marie Elias: “If anyone is listening we need to hack for disability to see how we can stretch existing budgets … ”

“We haven’t nailed it yet. I think we need to invest some time in doing that. Coming together is the beginning. While we generated amazing ideas, I don’t know what will happen to these ideas post hack. Go to any of the hack sites and you see the promotion and maybe the winning ideas and teams but no further info beyond that.

“Here are four steps we can take to deliver an outcomes driven hack.

  1. “Start with cross sector thought leadership groups to design the parameters and set the policy agenda.
  2. “Align the right agencies (State and Commonwealth) with innovators in teams to co-design solutions.
  3. “Set up a Post Hack Incubator so that the ideas can be further developed and piloted. These pilots must be supported both by government (through recalibrated funds and resources) and the innovation community.
  4. “Keep talking to ensure all stakeholders remain engaged and informed by sharing the process, the results of implementation and the success or otherwise of outcomes.”

Alex Roberts: “Is policy hacking the way of the future? I don’t know, but I certainly think it is worth considering.”

  • The value can be seen in the networking, in bringing together experienced and passionate people, in invigorating policy discussion and engaging people with the policy issues, and giving public servants insights that they might not receive from other channels
  • In other words, such events are not just about the ideas. They demonstrate that one of the roles that government can play is of broker or convenor – of bringing together other players in the system and helping facilitate or support conversations about what others might do, with little or no assistance from government
  • Policy hacks demonstrate one way that the policy process can be opened up for involvement by others in different ways. Of course there will be limitations, but those limitations will be different to those that affect the traditional policy processes, and so should allow for new insight and new understanding that wouldn’t have otherwise been captured.



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