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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 opportunity for every working Australian

Over 90% of Australians are employed in jobs within existing industries, which deliver $2000 Billion of GDP.
Innovation in established organisations creates the most value for the economy, and yet is often overlooked in the discussion about innovation and entrepreneurship. While start-ups are important, they are high risk/high reward, require new capital and impacts are relatively long term; existing organisation innovation can be managed, is funded internally and can have immediate impact. Australia needs a balanced approach to innovation and engage the greatest proportion of Australians! Success from existing organisation innovation is evident across all sectors from health, finance, manufacturing to consumer goods and food. Results from these organisations over nearly 10 years show an average of 1% per annum improvement of organisation performance. Were this replicated nationally this represents $20 billion per annum. However the take up within organisations is not significant. A focus on innovation for existing organisations in established sectors is needed to create productivity and growth and also responsive cultures able to adopt and adapt to innovation. The work has been done, national support is required to expand. Options 1. Support and expand the best practice principles for Governing Innovation from the Australia Institute of Company Directors. (http://www.companydirectors.com.au/Director-Resource-Centre/Director-QA/Director-Tools/Governing-innovation) 2. Support and expand the implementation of existing training credentials from IBSA (Innovation Business Skills Australia) through existing funding of the Industry Skills Fund and new methods of delivery to develop the range of capabilities required 3. Support the Innovator Recognition Program as identified by the NSW Public Service Commissioner as a framework for implementing innovation in existing organisations. See http://catalystexchange.com.au/catalyst-services-5/catalyst-development/innovator-recognition-program 4. Support and expand the Collaborative Innovation Forum (http://catalystexchange.com.au/catalyst-services-5/catalyst-development/collaborative-innovation-forum ) that operates in Canberra and brings public sector innovators together with private sector innovators to share best practice. 5. Support and expand the existing R&D Tax Incentive to include non-technical innovation. 6. Support and expand Collaborative Circles as identified by the Industry Growth Centre, Food Innovation Australia Ltd (http://fial.com.au/collaborative-circles ) and Victorian Agriculture Strategy to accelerate clusters 7. Support leadership strategies for implementing innovation. At Hargraves Institute, 50 members and 150 partners have come together to develop an Agile Innovation Manifesto for existing organisations and employees that gives leaders the foundation to measure performance, reduce risk and deliver real results from innovation. See www.hargraves.com.au Allan Ryan, Executive Director Hargraves Institute

My idea is for government to lead the development of a social enterprise policy assisting social enterprise in Australia reach its full potential.

There is an estimated 20,000 social enterprises in Australia currently employing approx. 300,000 Australians and contributing between 2-3% GDP. However, in Australia there is no government policy or leadership for the growth of social enterprise, making access to business skills and training, investment capital and new markets an ongoing challenge.
As an international comparison, through successive government leadership, the UK has approx. 80,000 social enterprises, contributing to approx. 5-6% of GDP employing over 1 million people. In the US, government has legislated all federal departments to determine if their contract needs can be met by social enterprise. This has resulted in social enterprises securing $2 billion per annum from government contracts creating jobs for 50,000 people with disability. As a viable business model, social enterprises are businesses that exist with the intention and commitment to create positive social impact while using the marketplace to trade and generate revenue. Social enterprise has the ability to strengthen Australian communities by generating employment, income and increasing access to services. Because the sector is already in existence, social enterprise could potentially employ over 500,000 Australians and generate up to 5% of GDP in a very short period of time with the right policy and leadership from the Australian Federal government in creating the necessary ecosystem for this business model to flourish.

Let's encourage and enable students to take a gap year in order to launch a startup. This would spark the launch of 1000s of new startups each year, creating a massive entrepreneurial culture. The National Enterprise Initiative Scheme (NEIS) already provides ~$12k over the course of a year to help start a business. You first need to qualify for NewStart, and they require an 8-week Business Cert IV course which results in one of those outdated 100-page business plans. Most NEIS businesses are small, local, non-scalable, non-tech startups.

As a student in a sharehouse, $12k is just enough to live off (particularly outside Sydney). Though if we reconfigure NEIS and combine it with something like Bill Shorten's "Startup Year" HECS-funded idea, we could bump that to ~$30k and enable any student regardless of NewStart eligibility to "take a gap year and launch a startup". Replace the Business Cert IV with a lean startup bootcamp and lean canvas business plan, and encourage students to launch global, scalable technology startups. Provide all students with free coworking space either at their local university or one nearby (if exists). Provide mentorship and super close ties to their local startup scene (eg free hotdesking at nearby incubators and coworking spaces).
For many students this will be their first startup, and so it's expected that most will fail. But that's completely ok. The initiative will have spread the entrepreneurial bug across 1000s of young Australians. Students will find it much easier to get a job with "launched a startup" on their resume, and they will inevitably be itching to launch their next startup in the future. The whole initiative could be started now with no additional funding required. Full breakdown here: https://www.facebook.com/notes/gongstartups/how-to-launch-1000-new-startups-per-year-in-australia-with-no-additional-funding/841940902549264

Tax reform is recommended as the key to support innovation, especially in biotechnology, which has the potential to be a major economic driver for Australia. It can deliver new technologies, high value exports, high- quality jobs and advanced manufacturing, if we can build on our established strengths for our future growth.

Government cannot directly fund to the level needed to optimise nation-building innovation impacts. Therefore, we need to look at tax reform, which stimulates innovation and enables Australia to retain what it has build and what it is yet to build, and specifically attract private capital investment. To gain the economic and social benefits, we recommend tax reform to support research-and-development-based innovation is critical in the following areas:
• Introduce a new tax benefit for qualifying ‘advanced’ manufacturers based on intellectual property, the Australian Innovation and Manufacturing Incentive (AIM Incentive). The incentive is based on the UK Patent Box but of course needs to be tailored by Parliament and industry to suit local needs. As CSL described to the Innovation Inquiry, building plant and manufacturing in Australia is less attractive than other jurisdictions. The patent box, or a version of it, is now active in 9 countries with the USA moving toward such a tax change this year. If for no other reason than competition, Australia needs to adopt something comparable. • Introduce a tax incentive to attract investor capital and to encourage long-term investments in start-ups. To attract private capital investments and support entrepreneurship, AusBiotech is advocating for a tax incentive to encourage investors to invest in young innovation-based growth companies and to ‘park’ their capital in pre-revenue, pre-dividend companies for lengthy periods. These so-called ‘patient investors’ are desirable as they provide more stability and certainty to start-up companies. • Preserve R&D Tax Incentive benefits in-tact, which is now seen by our sector as the number 1 policy issue requiring protection. The desire of government to reduce the benefit from 45% to 43.5% is not welcome and will disadvantage more keenly, small unlisted and listed companies who are not yet selling product. This is the category in greatest need of support. International competition is extreme and increasing, with serious investment occurring in many other key countries. Australia now needs to decide the importance of innovation in its economic future – its role in productivity and jobs - and make an appropriately-serious commitment to how best to drive the desired outcomes.

Earth observation (EO) imagery in Australia is used for mapping and monitoring vegetation, infrastructure, water, urban development, agricultural development, mining and in a host of other applications.Growth of Australian private industry and government applications using EO data and technologies, is severely restricted by an effective means for government and industry to work in complementary roles. Australia develops world leading solutions in EO areas but has no coordinated EO program and our governments (and increasingly industry) continue to duplicate one another.


Australia is critically dependent on EO data across a broad range of government and industry applications but is highly vulnerable to loss of data supply. We can build a more effectively linked government-research-industry partnership that would remove this vulnerability and enable both Australian governments and industry to grow significantly. At present there significant overlap in the acquisition, processing and distribution of data, and the transition from public access to for profit activities. This proposal establishes a public-private partnership to develop and implement EO data collection, storage and analysis distributed across all levels of government and industry with clearly articulated paths to open access and commercial access. The partnership could take the form of a private-public agency that sits across commonwealth to state agencies and can act as a private company, with a 3-8 person office to start the process and cover all project wrangling and administration, with two coordination positions for EO science and products. Australia is unfortunately in a unique position in being at the bottom of the rankings of countries who contribute to EO. This proposal would help redress our contribution on the international stage and would make federal, state and local government activities lower risk, grow a significant sector in the economy and would enable new commercial ventures using EO data to be established and enable this to be continue in the long term.

One bright idea that could transform innovation in Australia

Australia lacks a small business industrial research program (SBIR) like the United States, and I would argue it has been a vital ingredient for the innovation success in the US for three decades. My day job is advocating for the Cooperative Research Centres in Australia, but I think the number one thing we need is a system that fires up our Start-up/spinoff sector to a much greater degree.
The SBIR scheme in the States serves two purposes: (!) it encourages spin off and start up companies (over half of all spinoffs in the States are spun out to access the scheme) and (2) it is a procurement scheme for government, so the company has the first customer for its product or service lined up. I've written about the scheme in more detail here: http://theconversation.com/one-bright-idea-that-could-transform-innovation-in-australia-43622 The other important aspect of the SBIR scheme in the US is that it is big. Between it and the STTR scheme, they fund nearly 60% of early seed capital, leaving the private VC sector to concentrate on its areas of interest. SBIR achieves many of the things we need in Australia: a bigger VC pool; a more entrepreneurial culture at the university level to move ideas out; start-ups with a customer locked in and ventures that are addressing the national needs (because it forces government departments to articulate their innovation needs).

People submitting ideas
Jude Bennett Glenn Gillen Lachlan Blackhall Grant Cooley Mark Glazebrook Alex Buchanan Michelle Narracott Will Egan Marty Crampton Paul Foxworthy ulrich schild Jay Wulf Steve Zanon Sarah Pearson David MacSmith Denis M Glenn Phillips Simon Wyk Joe Hayes John McKibbin Nick Abrahams Nicholas Howe Andrew McGrath Nicole Williamson Erin Watson-Lynn