Through the Digital Canberra Challenge website, the ACT is now asking "Canberra's brightest minds" to help improve government services.
The first round contains two challenges, to improve the process of event approvals and to make it easier to book a government service (such as a driving test).
The process is a little vague, however the two finalists for the round (one per challenge) can receive up to $5,000 of expenses reimbursed (on presentation of valid invoices) and the winner of the competition (over a number of rounds) will receive $12,500 - with the runner up receiving $7,500.
To participate individuals must be Canberra-based, teams must have at least one ACT resident and organisations must be both ACT-based and have less than 20 people.
It's a good attempt, though in my view the complexity of the criteria to enter, the way prizes are awarded and the actual psychedelic website itself risk overwhelming the actual goal, to involve residents in improving the delivery of government services.
That said, the goal is fantastic and all kudos to the ACT Government for making a start in this area. I hope that after the process they consider making this approach a standard one for involving residents, reflecting the success of challenge.gov in the US.