Why I didn't GovHack this year.

GovHack happened September 6th to 8th 2019. The Northern Territory was represented by events in Darwin and Alice Springs.

I wasn't there.

I participated in the inaugural 2017 GovHack in the Territory, ensuring that Central Australia had a presence in this National event. I wrote about my experience here. In the next iteration I took the position of assistant director for the regional event, securing Desert Knowledge Australia (DKA) as an Event Partner. I attended the red carpet awards evening in Sydney and had a great time meeting other competitors, volunteers and sponsors. This year I assisted in hosting the Information Evening and created a mini-series of promo videos discussions on Twitter. See the "What is GovHack" moment. The official 'What is GovHack' video is linked on this About page.

I didn't hack.

I'm never short of ideas and GovHack 2019 was subtitled 'Festival of Ideas'.In the last #GovHackNT interview (see the moment linked above) Shannon Loughton (Director for the NT) said 'this is definitely the best thing to do, in the Territory, on this weekend'. However, for me, that was not the case. Alice Springs is spoilt for choice and maybe overrun with festivals at this time of year. Desert Mob (Indigenous Art), Desert Song (music and singing), Bush Bands (more music) and King of the Mountain (fitness) were four of the events that I knew were running on the same weekend.

There is no flexibility in dates with GovHack as it is an international competition and people are vying for prize money. Prize money was not a motivator for me. It is a team sport and my tentative team members fell away with other commitments and priorities. It is a full weekend commitment and an ideal team has a variety of skills to complete a project and a pitch video. The data available for the challenges is perpetual. The NT Government released the Open Data Portal which is documenting a growing feast of data. I can use that at any time.

The main reason that I didn't participate in the hack-a-thon, is that the ideas I have for a project might take longer than a weekend and not be relevant to a sponsored challenge. Like any hack-a-thon, it is short in time and there is no space to learn new skills. For the project I have in mind, there is a few new skills that I need to acquire, test and review.

I support the ethos of the hack-a-thon to be legal, inclusive, free and open. I'll be supporting those that participated by working with the NT Directory for the Territory awards ceremony with a presence in Alice Springs. I support this free and open format for those that want to give it a go in 2020 and create a project to improve your community!

Challenges: https://hackerspace.govhack.org/challenges
Datasets: https://hackerspace.govhack.org/data_sets
Projects: (Up for judging) https://hackerspace.govhack.org/projects
Values: https://govhack.org/about/


  1. Decisions are made ... I know you have been involved ... watched you from afar (via your writing).


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