Allens pitches ideas at 'policy hackathon'

By Felicity Nelson|30 November -0001
BlochValeska

Making government data more accessible to entrepreneurs was one of the many innovative ideas discussed by the Allens Accelerate team at a recent Federal Government brainstorming event.

Two delegates from Allens' start-up practice attended the first PolicyHack event on 17 October in Sydney alongside 250 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and government representatives.

The purpose of the event was to develop policies that could grow innovative, globally competitive industries in Australia.

Using the hackathon methodology, the delegates were broken off into groups to generate innovative policy initiatives.

“One of the ideas I suggested was to establish ‘safe harbours’ for directors and advisory board members of start-ups to help start-ups attract experienced and capable mentors during their riskiest periods of operation,” said Allens associate Tom Griffin.

“[My group] looked at ways to make government procurement and data processes more open, innovative and adaptive,” said managing associate Valeska Bloch (pictured).

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“The government sits on a mountain of data and there's enormous value to prospective start-ups – and others – in making that openly available because it alerts us to the problems to be solved.

“Data doesn't need to be of a high quality, it needs to be of known quality – which means that our challenge was to find realistic ways to encourage and facilitate open access to government data.”

The PolicyHack event touched on a broad range of issues including education, public-private cooperation, tax, gender equity, data and privacy, social justice, funding and migration.

“All of these areas are significant for lawyers and law firms,” the Allens team said.

“We are living in exciting times in which traditional industries and business models are increasingly subject to disruption from new technologies and agile start-ups.

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“Lawyers and law firms need to be alive to this changing landscape both as a beneficiary of new areas of work and as a potential target themselves.”

Allens Accelerate, launched in May, is the firm’s start-ups and emerging companies practice.

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