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Unearthed hackathon wants resourceful problem solvers

Tuesday, 25 August 2015 | By Denham Sadler
Over 100 tech innovators will be trying to solve problems facing the resources industry in just 54 hours as part of an Unearthed Sydney hackathon in Sydney this weekend.


Western Australia-based Unearthed has already held three similar events this year, and is now bringing the competition to the harbour city.


Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining companies, will be submitting three challenges for the event and the NSW government will submit one.


Taking place at Fishburners, competitors will pick one of the challenges and then receive large data sets.


“From their innovation they’re asked to analyse the data, make interpretations and look at ways to implement innovative solutions,” Unearthed national community manager Mikey Kailis says.


“It’s about solving the problem in a different way that other people haven’t thought of before.”



On offer is a first prize of $2500, second prize worth $1500 and a Young Innovator Award of $1000 for the best team with an average age of less than 25.


Unearthed hackathons focus on addressing declining productivity and competitiveness in the resources industry through innovation.


According to Kailis, there are opportunities for those taking place that stretch far beyond the monetary rewards.


“They’ll be working with global companies and they’re on the lookout for talented individuals who can come up with innovative ideas,” Kailis says.


“There’s room within Unearthed itself to look for new ideas. We run an accelerator program and we’re always looking for fresh ideas.”


The hackathon will see teams pitching to a judging panel including Blackbird Ventures director Rick Baker on Sunday night.


“It is important for the resources industry to have groups such as Unearthed doing what they are doing,” Baker says.


“I’m sure that the hackathon will produce some unique tech concepts addressing specific problems. I look forward to judging each concept.”


In terms of advice for the 100 or so people taking part, Kailis says it’s about finding a unique approach.


“Come with an open mind, be able to use the experiences you’ve had in the past, understand the resources sector and its changing shape and be able to work quickly,” he says.


“Work productively and look outside the box. Look at all the different angles and come up with a solution.”


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