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How to compete @ Adelaide Unleashed and succeed !

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How to compete @ Adelaide Unleashed and succeed !

What follows is the sequence of events that led to our glorious wins @ Adelaide Unleashed 2015

Chamonix IT Consulting competed in the Adelaide Unleashed 2015 (aka GovHack 2015) and subsequently having won a few glorious awards, this blog endeavours to share our approach to the competition.

Okay there were several other teams that also won on the night, in different categories, and “glorious” might be a bit over the top, but hey it feels good to get some recognition for effort put in… and we are still in the running for the national GovHack awards … fingers crossed !

Below are the steps we went through over the journey of the competition:

  • Register with GovHack via their website and at this point, you are not registering as a team, but as an individual.
  • Preparation
    • We checked out last year’s GovHack space & projects to get some idea of both the data set content and projects that were delivered. The projects are held / documented on Hackerspace.
    • A few brainstorming meetings to discuss possible opportunities…. 46 hours is not a lot of time, so it is best to allow as much time for creative thinking as possible. Look for ideas that address government pain points and/or undiscovered opportunities. Even something as simple as stitching together currently disconnected government services or apps will be beneficial.
    • Setup collaboration space. In our case it was setting up Microsoft O365 Group and Microsoft OneNote notebook to structure and document thoughts. It was also important, given we are also consultants, that we use the experience for learning and as such we knew what data we captured now could be used for next year’s event, both in terms of knowing the overall sequence of events and important key points, but also in terms of debriefing … what we didn’t do well and what did.
    • Also important was to ensure tech was working for us and not against us. It was important to ensure that going into the event we weren’t going to be hamstrung by software issues. We also gave some thought to potential tech to use as well as ensuring we would comply with the rules… ensuring tech is publicly available and that your code is committed into source control like GitHub.
    • We checked out the Participant and Developer Kits.
      • Ensured we had some familiarity with the rules and the event timing. All key points documented in our collaboration space, OneNote, which from personal experience really works well with Surface Pro 3 (my current personal compute).
      • Out of this you will find 4 very important points / deliverables. Knowing this helps you direct team compositions and roles… who will do the front end web app, who is going to mash data, who is doing the project doco in Hackerspace, who will do the video (and remember everything in life is about form and function… so it is important that you attend both… find a video guy/gal who can sell your app in a way that it deserves. The deliverables are:
        • Code in GitHub
        • Project documented in Hackerspace
        • Presentation Video
        • Working App using at least 1 of the named data sets provided.
  • Attendance. This is where all the good stuff happens.
    • The opening ceremony was at 6.00 PM with the actual release of data sets around 2 hours later. The ceremony was some food and drink followed by some speeches. At this point I had to say bye to the guys and we kept in contact via email on the O365 ‘GovHack’ Group.
    • Next, find a desk area or work space for the remainder of the competition and setup. This also means making sure you know where the mentors are and mingling a little with your competitors, sometimes known as networking.
    • Following that we checked out the data sets and finalised defining the project.
    • The team had left at around 9.30 PM. However you can stay as late as 11.00 PM, which is not ideal if you have a family.
    • We began documenting the project on Hackerspace ASAP. Initially this involved nominating your team and the team members. (after first registering individual members). You also had to nominate which prizes you were competing for, with each prize category having a particular requirement e.g. to use certain data sets.
    • The remainder of the competition involved going through the data sets and narrowing down on which ones to use, acquiring and transforming the data, building a web application to interact with the data as well as a video to introduce your project.
    • The competition was wrapped up at 5 PM on the Sunday. Officially this means providing the deliverables mentioned above.
  • After the competition
    • Local Unleashed Adelaide awards night. This includes drinks and food as well as some short speeches followed by award presentations. After Party follows the award presentations at about 8.30 PM.
    • Team debrief… capture some data for next year’s event.
    • To come … Gov Hack 2015 National Awards

Want to know more, about GovHack or Chamonix IT Consulting, then get in contact.