The Highlights

  • Designed, developed and launched an intelligent, custom search engine for Australian expertise in under 17 weeks.
  • Flexibility and scalability have been enabled from the outset through Amazon AWS cloud platform hosting.
  • Draws in, filters and fuses datasets from multiple sources to provide comprehensive and authoritative expert profiles.
  • Smart matching of challenges with relevant experts to enable greater industry-research innovation.
  • Winner of two Merit Awards at the 2018 ACT iAwards in the categories of Infrastructure and Platforms Innovation of the Year and Public Sector and Government

The Background

Difficulties with industry-research connections in Australia have long been reported. Further challenges arise as disparities around experience, contextual understanding, and communication are identified. These challenges are difficult to overcome and regularly see collaboration results fall short of their full potential. With industry-research collaboration, a critical component of high impact innovation, Data61 and their partners set out to boost the success rates through the establishment of a smart platform to assist in facilitating meaningful connections.

The Project

With under three months to deliver, Agile Digital were to partner with Data61 computer scientists and user experience experts to design, implement, and launch an intelligent search engine for Australian expertise. The platform brief was to support innovators within the industry (and Innovation Connections Facilitators) to find an Australian expert deemed likely to be a valuable collaborator, considering both research and industry experience.

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The Mission

To deliver a successful service the following key outcomes were required of the Expert Connect platform:

  • That it be an intuitive service making it easy for SMEs and Innovation Connectors to discover Australian experts with specific knowledge and a desire to collaborate;
  • The manual administration of expert profiles be minimised through leveraging ongoing and automatic profile updates;
  • That, as a public service, the platform met government accessibility and security standards;
  • The realisation of cutting-edge Data61 search technologies with a commercial-grade web platform.

The Approach

This project was developed in tandem with Data61, with Agile Digital providing the experiential layer which integrates with Data61’s research-quality search technology for a full-featured platform.

The experiential web application has been developed using the modern responsive React user interface in Javascript, which leverages a robust back end built on the Play Framework for Scala. Amazon Web Services Cloud platform has been used to enable flexibility and scalability of the service, allowing Expert Connect to ingest several more datasets and quickly grow from 45k expert profiles to 70k.

The Result

Agile Digital successfully codeveloped the service incorporating expertise from a wide variety of disciplines. Expert Connect was launched on schedule by Australia’s Assistant Minister for Innovation, the Hon Craig Laundy MP at the 2017 D61+ LIVE Conference. This project has been well received by the public, having been recognised for the value it provides. Its development will continue in Beta.

Through this journey, Agile Digital, Data61, and other Expert Connect partners successfully executed a small business-government-research engagement, embodying the core purpose of the platform.

The Agile Digital team approach projects with a level of commitment and flexibility that is truly rare. The team were crucial to the timely delivery of Expert Connect, and their collaborative work with Data61 researchers has resulted in a beta platform which is professionally finished and generating great interest.

– Dr Rebecca Hinton, Partnership Programs Manager, Data61

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