Policy and industry experts collaborating in
a one day policy hackathon.


The Australian Federal Government is committed to making innovation a centrepiece of the economy. A one day event at BlueChilli Sydney on 17 October 2015, PolicyHack was an opportunity for representatives from industry and government to collaborate on developing and pitching innovative solutions to some of Australia’s most pressing policy problems, helping foster the growth of innovation industries in Australia.

Along with Assistant Minister for Innovation Hon. Wyatt Roy MP, BlueChilli brought together representatives from startups, VC funds, accelerators and other components of the innovation ecosystem, with policy experts from government departments to collaborate in a one-day industry policy hackathon.

For a week prior to the event, the Australian community was encouraged to nominate their own policy ideas to support the innovation ecosystem using the OurSay.org platform. The PolicyHack organisers were guided by the ideas, comments and votes contributed to the forum to develop ten themes for exploration at the PolicyHack event, and some of the proponents in the forum were invited to attend and participate on the day.

The hackathon methodology was employed 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 on the table.


The goal was 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.

Initial policy ideas were contributed in a public online forum leading up to the event.

The concepts, suggestions and solutions posed on the forum remain live following the event. 

Judging Criteria

  1. Value proposition – Does the proposal address a clear and present problem in the innovation ecosystem, and has the problem been clearly articulated?
  2. Impact – Does the proposal contribute to making the innovation ecosystem stronger?
  3. Implementation – Is the proposal practical to implement; has the proposal identified required resources (public and private); has the proposal indicated who would be the relevant stakeholders? Is the proposal practically achievable in realistic timeframes?
  4. Value for money – Has consideration been made to proposal’s potential costs?  
  5. International comparisons - Has anything similar been done internationally? 

Who attended?

Due to a phenomenal response, we were unable to accommodate everyone who expressed their interest in attending.

We hope to organise more PolicyHacks in the future and encourage you to be part of the conversation on social media in the meantime, using the hashtag #policyhack.



125 York Street
Sydney NSW 2000

17 October 2015
8:00am - 6:00pm


Teams of volunteers worked together on ideas at the hackathon. Each team was appointed a team champion to lead the discussion and was assisted by facilitators and mentors.

Meet the team champions and their ideas (video)


1. Policies to develop innovative, agile and adaptive practices in Australian medium and large businesses

Champion: Michelle Narracott from the Centre for Digital Innovation

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)


2. Incentives to develop social enterprises

Champion: Ann-Marie Elias,  Innovator and Facilitator

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)


3. Policies to improve gender equality and diversity within the innovation ecosystem

Champion: Nicole Williamson from Lanzatech

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)



4. Incentives to encourage the use of intellectual property by Australian businesses

Champion: Tracy Murray from Griffithhack

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)


5. Develop incentives to attract capital to improve the quality of startup businesses and the incubators and accelerators that support them

Champion: Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin from Bluechilli

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)



6. Improve the way that universities operate and commercialise in the innovation ecosystem

Champion: Dr Tony Peacock from CRC Association

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)


7. Make government procurementand data, processes more open, innovative and adaptive

Champion: Adrian Turner CEO of NICTA

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)



8. Activities that foster global understanding and awareness amongst people in the innovation ecosystem

Champion: Colin Kinner from Spike Innovations

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)


9. Improve education systems to foster innovative thinking, creativity, entrepreneurship and digital skills.

Champion: Erin Watson-Lynn PhD Candidate Monash

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)


10. Improve and expand the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) to foster startups

Champion: Nicola Hazell from The Foundation for Young Australians

Read the pitch deck (Dropbox PDF) Watch the pitch (video)