A quick overview of all programs, past and present, at Code for Australia
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.
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.
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.
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.
In 2020, Tech for Non Tech switched to an online delivery model to cater for remote learning in response to COVID-19. The classes are now run in three-hour blocks over three days with two core classes and an elective.
Tech for Non Tech covers two core components: giving people a basic understanding of how things are made online and helping people to better understand and work with technical people.
Because the workshop series is so 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 Grants. which allowed us to onboard new delivery partners; Code for Japan in Japan, Open Up in South Africa and Codeando México.
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.
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.
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.
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 agencies independently.
The Digital Maturity Indicator has been run with multiple state departments and continues to do so, providing their teams with valuable insights and actionable recommendations. You can read more on the common themes the DMI has revealed on our blog.
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.
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.
In May 2019 Grace O'Hara started the events as regular in person MeetUps. This continued through 'til February 2020 at which point we had to take a break as a result of COVID-19.
As of August 2020, Code for Australia has rebooted the program, including taking it online so that more interested folk can participate. For 2021, Civic Makers has set its sights on Climate Change, focusing on developing a tool that helps the public be better understand what they can do to help and make change.
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.
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 were also lucky to have been supported by the folks at Coder Academy, who've generously provided us their space to use while the program was run in-person.
Everything else (such as the organising and running of events) is provided by the Code for Australia team and community of volunteers.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Data Driven Decisions
- Agile Delivery
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.