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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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Governments fund science and research because it produces the technological innovations and advancements in knowledge that improve the economic productivity and living standards. However, to date we don’t understand well the outcomes of the approximately $6 billion annually in publicly funded research investment and how this research generates innovations and discoveries that benefit society. Government could benefit by measuring and mapping public research investment against indicators of economic and societal value creation to better understand the dividend to society and determine how to improve how we invest in science.

Measuring the societal and economic return of publicly funded research investment is hard. Part of the problem is the lag between research and bringing a product to market, particularly in medicine where the safety barrier is necessarily high. Another challenge is that some major discoveries are made serendipitously in a scientific field that was previously thought to be unrelated. A further problem is that time, funds, and IP to undertake commercialisation is even harder to attain than funding for the research, consequently many discoveries are commercialised much later and usually not by the discoverer.
Consequently there are not have good answers for key questions such as how much have we benefited from this investment, and what much can we expect from future investment in science and research. This makes it difficult to argue for sustaining or improving the funding to attain better outcomes in future. These questions are now not insurmountable with available data. There is a significant amount of data measuring indicators of public research funding and analysis of these metrics against public research investment is likely to yield insights into the outcomes from public research funding and potentially ways to improve funding effectiveness.

Unleash the IP portfolio of Australia's research bodies

"Very smart engineers, business people and entrepreneurs are desperate to commercialise the incredible opportunities the CSIRO creates." That's from Adir Shiffman, CEO of Catapult Sports, one of Australia's most-successful and least-talked-about technology startups in the AFR in July 2014 - http://www.afr.com/leadership/entrepreneur/how-to-get-the-science-out-of-csiroand-intostartups-20140707-je1e3
Yet it's quite difficult first to locate and then to licence any of the IP created by CSIRO, or any of the other state- or federally-funded bodies. IP owned by the Australian people, meant to be put to work for Australians. To accelerate commercialisation of IP - with the jobs and other economic benefits that flow from it, we need to make two simple but significant changes to policy: 1) You can't use IP you don't know about. We need a policy directing CSIRO, and all other state- or federally-funded bodies to make their IP portfolios searchable through a single interface accessible to Australian entrepreneurs and businesses. 2) Quoting Shiffman again: "The community must come together to create a standard, semi-exclusive licence agreement for all IP held within CSIRO and universities." Many Australian startups have floundered within endless negotiations with federal and state-funded IP rights holders. A standard license agreement will lower costs both for licensees and licensors, and will likely return more revenue to the rights-holders than the current one-off system that can turn IP negotiations into a lawyers' picnic. Policy leadership from the Commonwealth government can see CSIRO and our world-class universities grow a range of innovative startups keen on making the most of the IP all Australians have paid to create.

Let's launch a national home energy retrofit campaign to help households across Australia reduce their energy bills.

Most people aren't aware that energy efficiency is typically one of the most lucrative investment opportunities available to households, easily out-performing both property and shares by providing higher returns and lower risks. However households largely under-invest in energy efficiency owing to a lack of information, finance, and other barriers.
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation in partnership with the major banks currently fund a range of energy efficiency and renewable energy projects across Australia. However so far they've struggled to invest in residential energy efficiency projects, despite representing one of the largest and highest return clean energy investments in Australia. The under-financing of residential energy efficiency arises from two key challenges. Firstly, although residential energy efficiency represents a very large pool of potential investment, each project is individually very small, making transaction costs a challenge. Secondly, the costs of auditing homes to identify and estimate the energy savings has historically been an obstacle. Our small startup (www.getecologic.com) recently developed a free app and cloud-based simulation platform capable of rapidly auditing how energy is used around the home and providing individually tailored business cases for home energy efficiency and solar retrofits. We have also developed an electronic marketplace to connect households to energy efficiency and solar providers, financial institutions, and incentive programs, enabling bulk purchasing and financing of energy efficiency and solar PV projects. With modest policy support our small startup and other clean technology businesses could help drive a step change in the uptake of energy efficiency and solar PV, and reduce energy bills across Australia.

The need and the challenge for this Policy Hack is to create a real outcome. This will also be challenging to implement and my suggestion would be to focus on an idea that has real potential to be a success story!

Connect the related industry with the innovators and creative thinkers. Government should be the catalyst.
Most Start-ups face challenges such as lack of funding, limited access to affordable space and resources and lack of experience in business operation. Governments on the other hand, are challenged by red tape, lack of innovation, (or so it seems) and lack of connection to creative thinkers, entrepreneurs and problem solvers. Business Challenges – lack of connection to universities and innovative talents. So how could we bring these together and achieve a real outcome? My suggestion: Create an innovation challenge series of events not only in the major cities but in every region of Australia where all Government agencies and businesses can submit their challenges and assign a price tag (let’s say $25K) as a reward or seed funding. The problems should be targeted at entrepreneurs and needs to be backed by education programs like NEIS followed by complementary incubator and if successful by accelerator programs. The Events should be linked to all universities or other education institution to attract young talents. Connection needs to be established with businesses similar to the nature of the problem in order to facilitate sustainability of the project and mentorship. Outcome: Creative thinkers/innovators and start-ups will be attracted by the need to solve the problem and by the financial incentives. Business and industry will provide the execution know-how and sustainability for the product or service and gain a conduit to the universities, creative thinkers and schools, YES! Schools: Singapore Government provides schools with grants of up to $10,000 to put in place a comprehensive, structured entrepreneurship learning programme for their students. http://www.spring.gov.sg/Nurturing-Startups/Pages/young-entrepreneurs-scheme-schools.aspx. While you are there, check the tax incentive for investors, individuals and existing businesses. This idea is not new, some great examples are events like Open Innovation below: https://www.digitalpulse.pwc.com.au/open-innovation-newcastle/ The measure of success (or ROI) will be how many Government problems are solved using the above ideas.

The future of work is changing rapidly. This is a reality that governments, industries and communities are all faced with. To support the growth of Australia's tech ecosystem and to prepare Australians for 21st century jobs, we need a new approach. In this new Digital Age, a career in tech can bring about financial security and independence, therefore reducing long-term welfare dependancy.

Traditionally, jobs in tech have required a computer science degree. This is out of reach for many disadvantaged, unemployed individuals. But many jobs within the tech ecosystem no longer require a Bachelor's degree. Therefore, we should create an intensive, technical training program which prepares unemployed and/or underemployed Australians for in-demand tech jobs. The curriculum should focus on providing participants with the top job skills most-needed, according to key tech trends. Students should also acquire key professional skills and business skills required to help them land a job upon completion.
Wage subsidies could be offered to employers who provide graduates with a job for at least 12 months. This programme could initially be trialled in a single location, and then expanded based on results. Overall, the training programme could provide valuable opportunities for groups of people who would otherwise be at risk of long-term welfare dependancy. At the same time, it could grow our ecosystem within Australia and drive innovation across various industries.

People submitting ideas
Rod Camm Sal Esposito Elaine Stead Warwick Peel David Eccles Leanne ODonnell Clayton White Peter French Zoe Rose Jay Wulf Peter Boyce Clinton Mead Nick Abrahams Ezme Webb Andrea Myles Colin Kinner David Jordan adam lyle Will Egan Yee Wong Craig Davis Simon Gemmell david tuke Mark Pesce Peter Scarth