Assistant Minister Roy pitches innovation policy ‘hackathon’

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blog If you follow Australia’s technology startup scene at all, you are probably aware of the ‘Startup Weekend’ or ‘hackathon’ events that are regularly held across the country. The basic idea is to get a bunch of energetic people in a room somewhere for a couple of intense ideas rapidly developing new startup companies or product features. It’s a lot of fun and a great way to get involved in the tech startup community. So much fun, apparently, that the newly minted Assistant Minister for Innovation, Wyatt Roy, wants to bring the concept to the public policy debate over innovation.

InnovationAus.com has published one of the first interviews with Roy since he was sworn in on Monday to sit under Christopher Pyne, the new Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. Perhaps the most interesting part to come out of the interview (we recommend you click here for the full story):

“Wyatt Roy told InnovationAus.com that he will host a weekend ‘government hackathon,’ drawing together the disparate interests of the tech eco-system to flesh out the best policy ideas for growing the sector in Australia. Startups, venture capitalists, accelerators, incubators, researchers and tech sector leaders would be brought together to mash policy ideas together, to develop a series of policy plans that government would potentially adopt to improve entrepreneurial outcomes, Mr Roy said.”

I have to say, I think this is a fantastic idea. Normally policy development processes take place behind closed doors — they’re mysterious and hardly transparent. To throw the doors open to what could be broadly called the ‘innovation’ industry (which is usually focused around technology) and bring in new ideas is a fantastic step for the new Turnbull administration. It will be fascinating to see if anything comes out of it — and especially whether it results in hard policy changes.

Image credit: Office of Wyatt Roy

6 COMMENTS

  1. Wyatt Roy told InnovationAus.com that he will host a weekend ‘government hackathon,’ drawing together the disparate interests of the tech eco-system to flesh out the best policy ideas for growing the sector in Australia

    Here’s an idea, how about a national Fibre Communications Network ….. oh!

    • Yeah, I have to say, I’d be questioning why they’re planning window dressing for a skyscraper they’re trying to build on sand instead of the solid foundation they’ve ripped up and thrown away…

  2. I’m guessing if it happens this is going to be a Sydney event.

    Never the less, some policy ideas for startups are going to have to focus on a couple of key areas;
    1. IP protections (both ways)
    2. Taxation and tax implications for small scale R & D
    3. Doing something to encourage successful startups to say in Australia, because right now there are thousands of good reasons to leave as soon as you start turning any sort of decent profit

    • “right now there are thousands of good reasons to leave as soon as you start turning any sort of decent profit”

      This is probably my greatest issue … I am VERY tired at this point of writing story after story about “X company changes headquarters to Silicon Valley”, “X company is acquired by foreign multinational, local staff gutted” etc

      • Why would you stay? There is very little money here and what can only be described as a hostile political environment. It doesn’t matter how many events they show up at for photo opportunities, if they don’t have incentive programs and actual policies and legislation in place, it is as hollow as Turnbull’s NBN promises. California can’t throw money fast enough at tech startups, with both San Francisco and Silicon Valley offering compelling environments cushioned by very attractive tax incentives. Why would you stay somewhere where there is substantially less money, few tax incentives, highly restrictive infrastructure, where the skills pool is a tiny fraction the size and labour here costs twice as much? Heck, all the costs of running a business are substantially lower over there; even housing is cheaper!

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