GovHack is an open data hackathon, run in late July each year by volunteers, focussed on unlocking the value in open data published by government. It has been run by a team of volunteers and grown from a small data mashup event to an international competition that brings over 3000 people together to innovate, collaborate and apply their creative skills to open government data. GovHack is for coders, designers, story tellers, activists, analysts, journalists and anyone that wants to tap into the vast amount of information made available by governments.
GovHack celebrates technical and creative capacity, opens the door to collaboration with governments, and has helped to advance the cause of open data to drive social and economic value.
Hackers gathered at locations around Australia and New Zealand in 2017 to innovate, create, and compete! Govhack International, Australian and Team Prizes were announced at the 2017 Red Carpet Awards in Brisbane on 15 October, 2017. You can watch the video here:
Since 2012, GovHack has been an annual volunteer run competition and community development event, which brings together technology, creatives and innovators from the private, public and government sectors with government data to explore and discover new ways to help create a better society. In 46 hours hackers form teams, identify problems to solve, build working prototypes, publish their code as open source, and make a short video showing what they did and why. Projects can include web, mobile or augmented reality applications, new analysis or even 3D printed visualisations to understand data and patterns.
Key benefits of GovHack include community building, skills and capability development, and exploring how cross sector collaboration is critical for innovation by getting government in the room with civic hackers from industry, academia and the general public. GovHack is about hacking in the positive sense, civic hacking for a better world.
Over the years GovHack has inspired governments across Australia to improve how they deliver their data, to make it easier for the public to understand how governments use revenues, and to focus more attention on delivering citizen centric services. More importantly, it has provided a sandbox to engage with the community and private sector to develop skills, capability and a new way of finding solutions.
Govhack has operated under the umbrella of several organisations since 2012 – including NICTA and Linux Australia. In 2017, Govhack became its own company and operates with independence. Govhack is still working toward its final organisational form, but for the moment it has three directors (shown below) and a small number of voting members. In 2018 our aim is to increase the number of members, hold an AGM and ask members to elect a new set of directors for 2018/19. In doing this, we will meet the goal of the current interim board to ensure ownership of Govhack is with the members, rather than a small group.
Current Board Members
While the board play a long term, strategic role in the organisation – the bulk of the operation of Govhack is with a team of dedicated volunteers. The structure of this team has changed each year based on the needs of the event and the people available – but generally takes the form of a central team and many state and local teams.
The central team aims to set the scene for the local teams to be successful in running the events, and making sure participants have a great time – they do this by working on tasks and issues that effect all or many local events. This includes working with national sponsors, Federal Government agencies, media and setting up technology platforms.
The state and local teams are the key people in the Govhack organisation. They pull together local resources such as sponsorship, venues, state and local council data – and of course they represent Govhack to their local communities and talk with lots of people about open data and the reasons for an event like Govhack.