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The Federal Government is committed to making innovation a centrepiece of the Australian economy. Policy Hack is an opportunity for industry to develop and pitch innovative solutions to some of Australia’s most pressing policy problems and help foster the growth of innovation industries in Australia.

Along with Assistant Minister for Innovation Hon. Wyatt Roy MP, BlueChilli will bring together representatives from startups, VC funds, accelerators and other components of the innovation ecosystem, with policy experts from departments of Treasury, Industry and Communications to collaborate in a one-day industry policy hackathon in Sydney, Saturday 17 October 2015.

We’ll use the hackathon methodology to nominate, select and work together in mixed teams on new government policy ideas designed to foster the growth of innovation industries including tech startups, biotech, agtech, fintech, renewables and resources.

Funding, taxation, education, migration — everything is on the table.

The champions on the highest voted policies will be invited to Sydney to lead teams on the day to workshop their ideas with government representatives.

The goal is to present a set of creative new ideas to an audience of government officials by the end of the day, to give them the top-line thinking from which full policy can be developed and implemented.

If you have a policy idea or you’d like to see and vote on which policy ideas are collaborated on at Policy Hack, you can get started right now.

The Federal Government is committed to making innovation a centrepiece of the Australian economy. Policy Hack is an opportunity for industry to develop and pitch innovative solutions to some of Australia’s most pressing policy problems and help foster the growth of innovation industries in Australia.

Along with Assistant Minister for Innovation Hon. Wyatt Roy MP, BlueChilli will bring together representatives from startups, VC funds, accelerators and other components of the innovation ecosystem, with policy experts from departments of Treasury, Industry and Communications to collaborate in a one-day industry policy hackathon in Sydney, Saturday 17 October 2015.

We’ll use the hackathon methodology to nominate, select and work together in mixed teams on new government policy ideas designed to foster the growth of innovation industries including tech startups, biotech, agtech, fintech, renewables and resources.

Funding, taxation, education, migration — everything is on the table.

The champions on the highest voted policies will be invited to Sydney to lead teams on the day to workshop their ideas with government representatives.

The goal is to present a set of creative new ideas to an audience of government officials by the end of the day, to give them the top-line thinking from which full policy can be developed and implemented.

If you have a policy idea or you’d like to see and vote on which policy ideas are collaborated on at Policy Hack, you can get started right now.

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Innovation is not just science, and it’s not simply research. Australian research capability ranks highly among international peers. Across fields as diverse as robotics, biomedical engineering, materials, and high performance computing, Australia’s intellectual talent is well recognised (and frequently poached by the US and EU!) The missing link for national success is a strategy that sets aside 'market-failure' approaches and instead promotes research-industry collaboration, university technology transfer and strategic linkages to Asia. Developing novel business models and engaging unique supply chains are also part of the innovation narrative.

Informed, engaged government leadership is essential. The Australian investment environment must offer globally competitive incentives to foster innovation and retain/attract international resources.
Finally, we must equip our youngest minds with skills for the digital economy. STEM education is vital, but this is more than just science and mathematics. It is more than merely coding classes. The challenge is not necessarily boosting our science output or productivity in our largest corporations. The policy challenge is more systemic. Broad engagement across the national innovation system is needed to deliver economic growth. This demands bipartisanship and strong, independent institutions. Our proposal: build the capacity of independent institutions that work towards collaboration, technology transfer, international linkages, advice and long term community capability.

Four Target Areas for Scaling Innovation

Note “Innovation = Ideas + Implementation”
(1) To gain maximum value explore opportunities where our Science & Research Priorities and Growth Centre initiatives cross over. One example: The crossover for Advanced Manufacturing (a horizontal tech) with health (a vertical industry) is medical/assistive devices for disability/frailty/aged care. Doubling up on our capability in two domains. Cochlear and Resmed (both big employers) are great companies with global footprints that we can replicate many times. It is also one of ACOLA's Key Projects - Assistive Health Technologies for Independent Living (Sept 2014). (2) Target an existing precinct with expertise in both areas. For example: Geelong has (i) an extensive manufacturing industry that urgently needs transformation into higher value products, and (ii) the disability/frailty social insurers (NDIS, TAC, Workcover and soon ABS) are residents. The big data on disability/frailty is unique in the Asian region. Use it to identify the top 100 real medical device needs and ask engineers to filter this list into a pipeline of quick/short/long term product wins. Build and export disability/frailty/aged care products into Asia. (3) Support Industry Precincts with enabling infrastructure services. When the Nation was young the government set up enabling infrastructure services (e.g. Banks, Postal Services, Telegraph companies). What are the 21st century Utilities that we need to support 1000’s of emerging SME’s ? What do our start-up’s lack that is outsourceable and scalable? Growth Centre “shared services” could cover (a) skills development, particularly marketing/management/business/entrepreneurial skilling – which are just as important as STEM, (b) uncompetitive non-core business functions (e.g. front office, back office, QA, regulatory functions, (global) distribution networks, warehousing/logistics, etc…), (c) product POC & piloting services in a gorilla sized “anchor client” e.g. Barwon Health in the Geelong example, (d) financial planning/loans/equity for the scale-up and subsequent growth phases of many SME’s. (4) In the idea to prototype phase the goal is to get the “cost to innovation” (or failure) and the “time to innovation” (or failure) as close to zero as possible. What enabling infrastructure services do we need to make this happen at scale in an Industry Precinct ?

The need for rigorous applied research on critical Digital-Technology policy questions

The Pearcey Foundation is interested in the role of the ICT sector in creating an innovative Australia. Radical digital innovation has the potential to either relegate Australia to an economic backwater, or propel us forward to be a fair and prosperous society, depending on whether or not we can foster and grow innovation in new ventures and existing organisations.
As we see it, the main opportunities for digital-innovation-led prosperity lie in services, mining, infrastructure and health. From the Policy Hack call for submissions, it might appear that the best response is to come up with concrete policy ideas (like a Carbon Tax). However, we believe that there is a critical need for an intermediate step. Australia lacks an organised capacity for applied research (and associated activities) focused on creating a globally competitive, sustainable, and fair Australia. The main need we see is for rigorous applied research on critical Digital-Technology policy questions (e.g. issues around data privacy, regulated industry sectors like taxis, accommodations and the like, telecommunications policy). We also see a need for related ancillary activities like those that the Pearcey Foundation has run over the past several years (e.g. the Australia 3.0 forum www.australia30.com.au ) and the hackathon we embedded within it. To that end, we have been working, in partnership with governments, CSIRO, and universities to create the Pearcey Institute. It will conduct and sponsor economic research that will address the spectrum of issues linking digital innovation to Australia’s future as well as the ancillary activities referred to above. The members will collaborate together, and with corporate R&D organisations, to analyse the possibilities for Australia’s future. We hope that the policy hack will agree with us on the need for such an organisation and offer an open invitation to partners interested in pursuing this shared vision for Australia to contact us. Wayne Fitzsimmons, Chairman, Pearcey Foundation Inc. www.pearcey.org.au

Superannuation Investment in New Industries
Many have indicated that it would be advantageous if startups and companies that subsequently developed could access some the vast amount of money that is being deposited into Australia's various superannuation funds. At present most of this money is used to buy shares of existing companies both in Australia and oversees. This money enriches the share market but does not contribute substantially to national development or new jobs in Australia.
The question is, how might some of this money be used to provide investment capital invest in new, more speculative (high risk) industries or infrastructure while at the same time still fulfilling its main function of providing retirement savings?
My suggestion is that the Australian government set up dedicated funds along the lines of Singapore’s Central Provident Fund to invest in startups, new industries or even infrastructure. To make it attractive and mitigate risk for investment by Superannuation funds (commercial, industry or individual), a minimum rate of return could be guaranteed by the government creating an attractive, risk-free investment. There would be no compulsion for superannuation funds in invest in these government funds, but funds could be made to ask individual contributors whether or not they would like to invest in these funds and to what extent. I actually think that many investors would be amenable to invest part of their superannuation in such funds.

People submitting ideas
John McKibbin Pete Cooper Patrick Mooney Mark Glazebrook Bernard Sullivan Paul Niederer Clinton Mead Jarrod Grainger-Brown Lee Wallace Stephen Carroll Matt McNamara Michelle Vanzella Paul Foxworthy Richard Billingsley Gemma Bailey Maggie Hardy Warwick Peel Glenn Irvine Tarek Ansary Janice Macpherson Kit Kriewaldt Peter Batchelor Tim Kastelle Peter French Sallyann Williams