Code for Australia Academy

Code for Australia Academy is a 6-week intensive design-led innovation program to foster innovation thinking and action between the private and public sector. The Academy brings together public sector intrapreneurs and private sector leaders to learn and apply new techniques for addressing challenges in innovative ways, build a network of innovators from different sectors, and encourage a culture of cross-sector collaborators.

engage2 are facilitating the #NSWAcademy, supporting Code for Australia with program design and coordination in NSW, and convening the Academy Alumni in NSW. Both the Academy and the Alumni network have been formally endorsed by the Department of Finance, Services & Innovation and are being supported by the Department of Premier & Cabinet in NSW.

Executives across government agencies are invited to nominate a challenge and entrepreneurial staff (intrapreneurs) to participate in the Academy. These public servants team up with private sector practitioners to address challenges facing our community. Across the 6 week Academy we bring in professionals from Federal, State government and private sector organisations such as Deloitte Centre For The Edge, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Chief Data Scientist of NSW and CEO of the DAC, Oracle, Enterprise Architects, DiUs, Small Multiples and the DTA to introduce participants to human-centred design, agile development, data driven decision making, and prototyping methods and help them to apply these methods to their challenge.

Participants in the 2016 Academy focused on four civic challenges:  how to help prevent teenage pregnancy using digital communications, how to support refugees to find services and settle into their communities, how to make it easy for schools to leverage parent volunteers, how to work more collaboratively with stakeholders on environmental management, and how to connect academics and workplaces so research could be used to improve current programs. At the end of the program teams of public and private sector participants presented how they had examined the challenge using the methods taught and recommended next steps to executives who had nominated their challenge. Their presentations showed how they had defined the problem utilising user research and available datasets, and how they would address it with some sharing prototypes and a roadmap for their minimum viable product (MVP).

The second NSW Academy started in March 2017. Participants from a range of agencies and private sector companies in NSW are working on challenges including: how urban users might reduce their water consumption, how parole case workers can help reduce the risk of reoffending, how we can build better digital capabilities in students, and how NSW government might leverage new technologies to ensure rural communities get the same services as urban ones.

Participants and speakers of all Academies have been invited to join the Academy Alumni as a way for them to continue to connect and collaborate.  Executives of NSW Government are now being invited to meet with the Academy Alumni and to use them as a cross sector and cross agency ‘brains-trust’, ‘policy-lab’ or ‘think-tank’ by bringing their challenges to the group, so the Alumni can apply what they have learned to the most pressing challenges facing our communities.

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