Last week I wrote about the Open Data Institute’s first Immersion Programme on Crime and Justice. I’m series lead for this and part of the role means that I’ll be both encouraging people to take part and supporting those that do.
As a recap, the challenges that we have set are:
How can open data projects be constructed that achieve one of the following:
- increase community involvement with the criminal justice system?
- create further evidence for what are effective interventions for rehabilitation?
- address the rise in personal crime?
An obvious question to ask is why would somebody want to take part in the series?
I’ve recently taken on a really interesting role working with the Open Data Institute. Over the next nine months I’ll be the series lead for their first Immersion Programme where we will be working with developers, data owners within and outside government and other interested parties to help establish some substantial and sustainable open data projects. This first programme has the theme of Crime and Justice.
Last Wednesday, 20th March, we kicked off with a day long session at the Open Data Institute where we discussed what three challenges should be set for participants in the programme. The day was arranged and co-hosted by Olivia Burnam from the ODI, who will continue supporting the programme when she returns to the Cabinet Office next month.
Open Data Institute logo
How do you decide how to structure your event? First, you really ought to decide what you are trying to achieve.
I spent a few days in Amsterdam the other week, attending a meeting of the Cross Innovation project that is being led by Birmingham City University. The project has 11 cities taking part and they are looking into policies that can help the creative industries influence other types of business, especially in more traditional areas of the economy.
One of the ways the project is going to attempt this is by looking at brokerage, which they define as being “services offered by agencies that facilitate connections between sectors and individual firms where none previously existed”. The brokerage services that the project has looked into are often events.
It made me think how different events I have hosted and attended are constructed. Also, I thought about how much or little they focus on outcomes. (more…)
This was the talk I did at Pecha Kucha Coventry in November last year. It might sound a slightly odd title for a talk that is all about open data, but I was keen to do the whole presentation without using the phrase “open data” once. This was because I was part of an evening that had a variety of different speakers, not all of whom were technical, so I really couldn’t assume any prior knowledge of what open data is from the audience.
I also think that using the phrase is often a way of excluding people from the discussion. This was a useful opportunity to prove to myself that it’s possible to talk about open data in a way that is easy to understand for people who don’t want to know anything about the technical details.
I think that’s pretty much most people.
So, here it is. It is essentially me talking about three projects I’ve been involved with: the Birmingham Civic Dashboard, AidView and some ongoing work I’m doing with Mike Cummins about secondary school admissions.
I’m lucky enough to be involved in a number of events this month.
On the 15th November I’ll be going along, and probably talking, at the Chamberlain Forum‘s round table discussion on how open data and communication can help support a Co-operative Council. I’ve been involved in some work on open education data that I’ll be using as an example for that discussion.
The following Monday is our third HyperWM event. HyperWM is an unconference for local government in the West Midlands. As I write this there are still some tickets remaining but they might not be there for long. This year our hosts and sponsors are Sandwell Borough Council and we will be spending the afternoon at The Public in West Bromwich talking about how digital technologies can help us do things better in local government.
I really enjoy the spontaneous feel of an unconference, which is where the participants decide the agenda and pitch to run the sessions at the start of the event. It leads to a lot more enthusiasm about the subject matter and support for other people and their work. It proves that working life isn’t all about Apprentice-like competition, but is far more productive (and fun) when you work in collaboration with others.
Later that week I’ll be spending a couple of days attending Hello Culture. It’s one thing I’ve continued to be involved in since leaving Digital Birmingham, mainly because I’ve enjoyed the previous events so much. I also need to be there because I’ll be chairing the panel on digital and cultural collaborations. Come along and watch me ramble….
Also there at Hello Culture will be IC tomorrow, a Technology Strategy Board programme that “….stimulates innovation and economic growth in the digital sector, by breaking down barriers and opening doors for a new generation of entrepreneurs.”
There is an opportunity for 10 businesses to present at their ‘Meet The Innovators 3′ session which will be held on Wednesday November 21. It’s a chance to pitch an idea to a group of cultural organisations and also in front of the people running the IC Tomorrow programme.
Pitchers will also get to meet other people doing interesting digital work within culture and the arts. One organisation will also get a £5000 award to trial their idea with an organisation that IC Tomorrow will match them with.
Thursday 15th November ~ Chamberlain Forum Co-operative Councils ~ venue tbc
Monday 19th November ~ HyperWM ~ The Public, West Bromwich
Thursday 22nd November – Friday 23rd November ~ Hello Culture ~ Custard Factory
I attended the Development Data Challenge organised by Publish What You Fund at the Guardian offices over the bank holiday weekend. There is a really good write up of the whole day on The Guardian’s Global Development site, Julia Chandler has written up her experience of the challenge and Laura Newman from the Open Knowledge Foundation has also written an excellent blog post, so I’m just going to cover the work that I contributed towards.
The group I was with tackled a number of challenges relating to traceability of aid flows. In plain language traceability is being able to follow the money from a donor organisation or government right through to an individual activity or project in a recipient country.
Since April I’ve been doing a few days a week working for aidinfo on the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI). IATI provides an agreed open data standard to which organisations are publishing their aid data.
aidinfo are one of a number of supporters of the Development Data Challenge at The Guardian offices at the end of August. Co-ordinated by Mark Brough from Publish What You Fund, it promises to be a stimulating weekend of data wrangling and visualising.
Having spent the last few months getting up to speed on what people are doing in this area I’m really looking forward to seeing what people create over the two days. (more…)
When the Cabinet Office released its white paper on open data last month I asked this question:
So, can I FOI Service Birmingham now?
This was because, while the Open Data white paper can be viewed as a continuation of policies which develop our right to open data, we are also going through a period where the organisations which provide public services are being dispersed, often out of the public sector itself.
Whether it is privately owned health providers or social enterprises delivering local authority contracts, more and more of the organisations which hold and create the data produced in the course of public services are exempt from Freedom of Information legislation. (more…)
Last Friday and Saturday I had a lot of fun hosting the Hello Culture Arts #DevLab at The Old Library in Digbeth. It was put on by Big Cat and Lara Ratnaraja with additional support from Digital Birmingham, Arts Council England, Rebel Uncut and the University of Birmingham.
We put a variety of arts and cultural organisations together with developers from a range of backgrounds and encouraged them to think about collaborating on some kind of digital project. We were quite clear that the purpose of the event wasn’t just to get some proof of concept apps to show at the end, but to work on relationships and longer term developments together. (more…)
I had a wet but stimulating time at The Hay Festival last weekend, camping out with friends and attending a variety of interesting talks. Hay is a lovely town and the festival puts on events with a great range of writers, although due to the weather the number of linen suits and panama hats were way down this year.
I booked the individual event tickets for all of us and so whenever the festival had any updates or additional information I received an email from them. (more…)