[@OKau] After the hackathon: 4 classic recipes

Steven De Costa steven.decosta at linkdigital.com.au
Thu Apr 23 21:35:47 UTC 2015

Another type is 'collaborative procurement'. It replaces a more traditional
RFQ process. It requires the buyers to be involved and committed to a paid
project outcome before the hack starts.

However, it needs to not be exploiting the talent of hackers by asking all
to work for free. Rather the event, or part thereof, could be just for
pitching and team creation (private-public teams). The team selection
can be facilitated by the organizers, a panel of experts or a third party
such as NICTA. After that there is a proof of concept phase with no free
work (that runs foe at least two months). It can be heavily discounted,
such as by awarding 5, 10, 15k to the three teams in order of success. They
aren't competing head to head to try and win the same projects in this
scenario either.

Importantly the public sector Organisations should be able to direct source
at the end of the PoC stage for a significant effort - 100k+ projects
should be possible.

With regard to GovHack I think it needs to remain 99% on creating a fun
atmosphere for developers. Fun in a challenging, learning and connecting
way. The Govt interest for Apps and ROI on their sponsorships should be in
the last 1%. Over the last three years GovHack has needed to raise
awareness within Govt to get data and get them involved. Now they are at
the party we just need to keep the right vibe going and let them have some

And, I still think the DTO will be cool when it's up and running.
Folks there will get it and help agencies update the way they work with
creative technical folks.


On Thursday, April 23, 2015, Steve Bennett <stevage at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
>   I've been thinking for a while about the potential directions that a
> GovHack hack can go (or not) after the event, and have finally written it
> up:
> http://stevebennett.me/2015/04/23/after-the-hackathon-4-classic-recipes/
> In the interests of easy reading and commenting I'll paste the text here
> for discussion. (Obviously this version will be out of date if I have to
> fix something...)
> Hopefully more clarity around the different directions available to hacks
> will lead to greater action?
> Steve
> Everyone loves hackathons. And almost as much, everyone loves asking “but
> what happens to the projects afterwards?
> <https://web.archive.org/web/20150317093856/http://www.govhack.org/hack-longevity/>”
> There’s more than one route to follow. I’d like to propose four standard
> recipes we can use to describe the prospects of each project.
> #1: Start-up
> The creators of the could form a business. The developers work very hard
> to polish up what they’ve written until it’s a viable product ready for the
> marketplace, and then try to build a start-up around it while probably
> looking for external funding.
> [image: Snap Send Solve - hackathon to start-up success story]
> <https://steveko.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/screenshot-2015-04-23-22-53-05.png>
> Snap Send Solve <http://www.snapsendsolve.com/>– hackathon to start-up
> success story
> This kind of result is very desirable for hackathon organisers because
> there is such a clear story of benefits and outcomes: “a few thousand
> dollars of sponsorship paid for a weekend hackathon which led to this $50
> million start-up which makes the app your grandma uses, which is great for
> the economy”.
> *Ingredients required*: Start-up mentors, entrepreneurs, a business focus
> from the get-go
> #2: Government app
> [image: OpenBinMap.org - a government app in waiting?]
> <http://openbinmap.org/>
> OpenBinMap.org – a government app in waiting?
> If you make an interesting and useful app with a government body’s data,
> then maybe they’d like to take it on board. They might use the code base,
> but it’s probably better to use the concept and vision and write the code
> from scratch. Imagination isn’t a government strong suit, but once they see
> something they like, they’re pretty good at saying “we need one of those”.
> This also doesn’t seem to happen very often, but can we try harder? We
> should follow GovHack up with serious discussions between hack developers
> and the government bodies that sponsored them. Following my cheeky “
> CanIBoatHere.com <http://caniboathere.com/>” category winner last year, I
> did meet with Transport Safety Victoria, but didn’t really have the time or
> motivation to pursue it. But they were very keen, so why couldn’t we have
> made it work? Similarly, there was potentially money available from the
> Victorian Technology Innovation Fund to support GovHack projects, but no
> clear process meant that months of fumbling through paperwork might
> eventually lead to nothing. Not so appealing to developers.
> *Ingredients needed: *A solid process, government/developer wranglers,
> pre-commitment to funding.
> #3: Community project
> [image: Eventable would make a great community project.]
> <http://eventable.in/melbourne/>
> Eventable
> <http://stevebennett.me/2015/04/23/after-the-hackathon-4-classic-recipes/eventable.in> would
> make a great community project.
> If a hack is interesting and important enough to other developers, could
> it become a self-sustaining open source project? The idea seems plausible,
> but I don’t know if I’ve seen it happen. The major blockers are the hackish
> quality of the code itself which typically would require a major rewrite,
> and the sense that the weekend was fun, and this would be a lot of work.
> Hacks are a kind of showy facade. Once developers sit down to talk
> seriously about onward development, all kinds of serious difficulties start
> to emerge. And between the end of the weekend and the announcement of
> prizes a lot of momentum gets lost which can be hard to start up again.
> *Ingredients needed:* Post-hackathon events to explore projects and
> establish communities.
> #4: Story
> [image: Living, Breathing Melbourne - still just a story.]
> <http://stevebennett.me/2015/04/23/after-the-hackathon-4-classic-recipes/melbourne.yuri.io>
> Living, Breathing Melbourne – still just a story.
> And finally, let’s acknowledge that the most important part of many hacks
> is their potential as an interesting story in their own right. Anthony
> Mockler’s GovHack 2012 entry “Is your Pollie Smarter than a Fith Grader”
> isn’t a failure because it didn’t lead to a start up – it was a great story
> that captured a lot of attention. My team’s 2014 entry “Living, Breathing
> Melbourne <http://melbourne.yuri.io/>” has been frequently referred to as
> a model for actual open data dashboards, even though we didn’t develop it
> further. We should try to extract as much value as possible from these
> stories, and preserve their essence, even if only in screenshots and blog
> posts.
> *Ingredients needed*: Story tellers, blog posts, active engagement with
> journalists
> In summary
> Let’s think of these different paths early on when discussing projects:
> “This would make a great *community project*“, “I don’t see this going
> anywhere, but let’s get the *story* out”, “It would be a shame if the
> department doesn’t take this on as a *government app*“. And don’t write
> off a hack just because it didn’t fit into the mould you were thinking of.

*EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR*www.linkdigital.com.au
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