• The virtual event brought together 500 innovators from across Australia and NZ.
NZDF via Twitter
    The virtual event brought together 500 innovators from across Australia and NZ. NZDF via Twitter

Four teams have been named winners of the Australian and NZ #shockproof Defence forces hackathon.

The virtual event brought together 500 innovators from across Australia and NZ. Guided by 70 mentors with 40 pitch presentations, the hackathon aimed to find ways to harden Australian and NZ defence logistics.

The IBM-sponsored prize winners were:

  •       1st Prize: $7,000 awarded to Gaia Pod, a supply chain and logistics optimisation focused solution using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
  •       2nd Prize: $2,000 awarded to FVEX, an enabling policies and supply chain and logistics optimisation focused solution.
  •       3rd Prize: $1,000 awarded to Team White Hat for its cyber resilience focused solution.
  •       4th Prize: ANSTO's Nandin Innovation Centre three+ months membership awarded to Help from Heroes; a People, Culture and Wellness focused solution.

“Before this event, I had never heard of a hackathon or what the actual purpose is of competing,” Gaia Pod team member Amy McIntosh said. “Now I know it is much more than just creating a novel idea out of the blue to solve an ongoing problem. It is being able to come together with a range of diverse people to innovate and create a concept that will ultimately help and support the future of the ANZDF.

“As our team’s focus was in disaster relief, we were able to encompass and apply our thinking to both Australia and NZ. It was a riveting and rewarding experience, especially considering the positive intensity of teamwork.

“I believe this hackathon provided a window of opportunity for specialists in business and the sciences to demonstrate our potential and how by reaching out across the Trans-Tasman, collaboration and support in our special part of the world is possible.”

Help From Heroes’ Vicky-Rae Renier-Clark was impressed by her first experience in being involved with a hackathon.

“This was my very first online hackathon and it was an absolute privilege and honour to have our ideas both heard and recognised by Australian and NZ Defence,” she said. “Our small but mighty team consisted of two mums, one from each side of the ditch, who despite all the challenges with parenting and juggling tech issues persisted and most of all delivered.”

“As a team, we've mentored and helped organise a few hackathons in the past but this one in particular was unique for a number of reasons: the breadth of capability and expertise in our mentors, lead mentors and participants, and how directly applicable some of the solutions I've seen come from the teams, and I've seen a lot of solutions that will have an impact in future or will become an inspiration for others,” Steve Nouri, ACS Head of Data Science, commended.

“The hackathon leveraged the ingenuity of technological specialists across the two nations to explore options to enhance sovereign capability,” an Australian Defence spokesperson said. “The 48-hour event helped to identify innovative solutions to supply chain issues, which underpin Defence’s ability to mobilise quickly when responding to a crisis or threat.”

Defence plans to explore the best paths forward for all 40 competing teams and aims to further develop a number of ideas and solutions from the Hackathon, both internally and with relevant government agencies.

Note: ADM Managing Editor Katherine Ziesing acted as a judge for the Hackathon.

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