Our Programs

A quick overview of all programs, past and present, at Code for Australia

Fellowship

Status: Active

Where did it come from?

Code for America first piloted the Fellowship model, which we replicated and tweaked to fit an Australian context. The biggest difference between the Code for America model and ours is that Fellows here are embedded with Government Partners for the entire duration of the project.

How does it work?

Fellows (technologists from outside government) are paired with government teams for six months, to work collaboratively on a public-facing challenge. More information here.

How does it fit into the bigger picture?

The Fellowship is our flagship program because it embodies our two main goals: making beautiful, useful technology that is human-centred and impactful, and building digital capability in the public sector. It's our biggest program we run at the moment and is where the biggest change is usually found (by virtue of the length and scale of the program).

Fellowships also put many of our core values into practice: collaboration, openness, exploration and curiosity, transfer of skills and of course, making things using tech.

Who funds it?

The government department where the work happens usually, or what might be called a fee-for-service model. There have also been a couple of times where Fellowship teams were funded by the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet's Public Sector Innovation Fund (PSIF). These initiatives were called Code for Victoria and involved PSIF funding three Fellowship teams which different Victorian departments and agencies pitched for. More information on the first and second round is here.

What has it achieved?

Many things. Check out our Projects Page to get a feel for what teams have worked on, our blog to understand what the experience is like, our case studies to get a more polished version of some stories, or our impact evaluation summary and blog post here to see the impact it creates.

Where can I find out more?

Naturally, you're welcome to reach out to the team with any questions. You can also find out more on our program page here.

Sandpit

Status: Active

Where did it come from?

Throughout 2016 and 2017 we ran our 6-week Academy program a number of times in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. It was an innovation program that allowed participants to creatively generate insight and solutions on any wild idea. Over the 6 weeks, public and private sector professionals also learned how to collaborate better across sectors, whilst building skills.

Spinning off from the foundations of our Academy program, Sandpit is a new iteration of this program, that focuses on giving public sector changemakers the tools and experience they need to explore, test and most importantly, validate their ideas.

How does it work?

Government departments and agencies send up to two people from their team, who are then paired with two technologists from our network. Together as a team, they are taken through a six week series of workshops and project time to understand:

  • Problem Definition

  • User Research

  • Prototyping

  • Data Driven Decisions

  • Agile Delivery

  • Pitching

Who funds it?

We’d love to offer this program for free, but we haven’t found the magic person or organisation to fund it. So for now, this is a paid program with each government team paying to participate.

What has it achieved?

Again, many things. Most of these are best seen through our blog.

Where can I find out more?

You're welcome to reach out to the team with any questions. You can also find out more on our program page here.

Tech for Non Tech

Status: Active

Where did it come from?

Tech for Non Tech was launched in November 2015 by Kate Beecroft with support from Enspiral DevAcademy, where it was run 9 times in New Zealand, with 84 people participating in the course.

In 2017, Kate Beecroft and Joshua Vial (representing Enspiral Dev Academy and the Golden Pandas) worked with Lina Patel (representing Code for Australia) and made an agreement whereby Code for Australia licensed the Tech for Non Tech training and is the sole provider in Australia.

How does it work?

Tech for Non Tech is a one day masterclass that covers two core components: giving people a basic understanding of how things are made online, involving a short history of the internet and where we're currently at; and also, helping people to better understand and work with technical people.

Because the class is quite hands-on and interactive, we cap numbers between 20 - 25 participants.

On a more macro level, Tech for Non Tech is a product that is intended to be delivered by a range of service providers and code academies around the world. The intention is to cultivate healthy partnerships, based on trust, transparency and a viable financial model with other organisations, in other countries, to grow the network of people and organisations involved in Tech for Non Tech beyond Australia and New Zealand. There is an opportunity for new delivery partners to have a new source of revenue and contribute to a shared pool of content, that they will also benefit from.

We had an opportunity to put this into practice thanks to a Code for All Exchange Grant, which allowed us to onboard two new delivery partners: Code for Japan and Open Up. More details on that here.

Who funds it?

We’d love to offer this program for free, but we haven’t found the magic person or organisation to fund it. So for now, this is a paid program.

Depending on the type of class we run, we have different funding models. If it's an open class, we sell tickets individually and anyone is welcome to attend. If it's a custom class, a government department or agency will pay for an entire team to attend. If it's a free class, that means we've found someone to sponsor an entire class.

What has it achieved?

Again, many things. Most of these are best seen through our blog.

Where can I find out more?

You're welcome to reach out to the team with any questions. You can also find out more on our program page here.

Validate

Status: Active

Where did it come from?

Validate is a framework adapted from Cogent's Clarify Program, and which emerged after working together on a project with City of Melbourne.

How does it work?

Validate is a collaborative program that helps innovative leaders inside government create actionable plans for bold ideas. Over four to six weeks, strategists and researchers from the Code for Australia community work with workshop and roadmap a digital project they're thinking about or working on. The goal is to give leaders in government the support they need to explore, test and roadmap new ideas, before investing large amounts of time and resources into them.

Who funds it?

The government department where the work happens usually, in what might be called a fee-for-service model. Validate is tailored to each department or agency’s needs. Programs are typically four to six weeks long, depending on how quickly you can provide access to your stakeholders and community for consultation.

What has it achieved?

Validate is one of our newest programs and as yet, hasn't had any blog posts about the process and impact. If you're interested in talking with past participants about their experience, get in touch with the team and we would be happy to connect you with them.

Where can I find out more?

You're welcome to reach out to the team with any questions. You can also find out more on our program page here.

Digital Maturity Indicator

Status: Active

Where did it come from?

In 2018, Harvard Kennedy School convened public sector digital service teams from around the world. Teams and experts from nine nations shared stories of success, talked about lessons learned, and discussed the challenges they face in transforming government.

To bring these lessons to Australia, we’ve partnered with the Harvard Kennedy School of Government to use the framework developed to measure organisation’s digital maturity and help them identify areas they can improve on. We believe Harvard’s research represents a solid representation of what is needed to transform organisations; from culture to legislation and off course technology.

How does it work?

The assessment happens in two parts, and is conducted by a small team of researchers:

  • Quantitative research done with segment of staff from across all areas, via a digital survey

  • Quantitative research done with select staff across key areas, via in-person interviews

The research is then synthesised and presented back in a report, with actionable steps provided to improve across areas identified by the Harvard framework: User Experience, Political Environment, Cross-Government Platforms, Institutional Capacity, Delivery Capability, and Skills and Hiring.

Who funds it?

The government department where the work happens usually, in what might be called a fee-for-service model. Some state governments or bodies might fund a series of assessments to be made across a range of departments and agencies, in other cases, they are initiated by departments and agenencies independently.

What has it achieved?

The Digital Maturity Indicator is another one of our newest programs and as yet, hasn't had any blog posts about the process and impact. If you're interested in talking with past participants about their experience, get in touch with the team and we would be happy to connect you with them.

Where can I find out more?

You're welcome to reach out to the team with any questions. You can also find out more on our program page here.

Civic Makers

Status: Active

Where did it come from?

Civic Makers emerged through many chats with our global friends in the Code for All network, who talked at great lengths of their own civic tech communities in their countries of practice. We looked to our own backyards and couldn't see much happening in civic tech aside from ourselves and a few others, and certainly nothing that would bring communities and people closer together in an active way.

So in May 2019 we created a space to do just that.

How does it work?

Civic Makers is a regular MeetUp, in which people use their skills to create things for the public good. Sometimes this involves tech, sometimes community organising, sometimes it's just talking about and understanding a problem from different points of view.

We bring government and not-for-profits together with community to keep conversations and actions grounded. Anyone who is interested in collaboration and making progress on big issues is welcome to join the group.

Who funds it?

For our first year, we were lucky to have the support of the Telematics Trust, who helped us to cover food, supplies and resources for teams. We're also lucky to have been supported by the folks at Coder Academy, who've generously given us their space to use.

Everything else (such as the organising and running of events) is provided by the Code for Australia team and community of volunteers.

What has it achieved?

We're still young but check out the blog for stories of what's happened so far, or join us at our next gathering.

You can also check out our public folder here, or head to the #civic-makers channel on our Slack to chat with community members.