Using data appropriately in the public and social sectors can lead to greater innovation and better outcomes for citizens. Organisations are beginning to prototype their approach to data through discovery projects focused on specific user needs. I have lead a number of these projects combining my training in product management and experience using service design and user research techniques.
In 2016 as part of the Better Use of Data Team in the Data Group in the Government Digital Service I led the Discovery phase for a government data science literacy service. This was designed to help civil servants understand how to use data science to inform the design and delivery of policy. I worked with Nesta’s Government Innovation Team leading a data discovery project with Essex Police. Most recently I was the content lead for the Future Cities Catapult in the development of their City Data Sharing Toolkit.
Strategy and Research
Data informed delivery also depends on broader strategy development. I combine my work on data discovery projects with supporting organisations to develop strategies to use data which support their public aims as well as bringing wider benefits.
As Head of High Value Data Strategy in the Transparency Team in the Cabinet Office I helped develop and champion the UK’s open data strategy. I worked with organisations such Ordnance Survey, Land Registry, Companies House and the Met Office. I helped design and launch the world’s first Open Data User Group, helped write the Government Response to the Shakespeare Review and was part of the team who created the UK’s first National Information Infrastructure. Outside of government I helped Parkinson’s UK develop their first organisation-wide data strategy.
In addition to developing strategies, I have undertaken research on the organisational benefits of using data and was lead author on the Open Data Institute’s research report on ‘Using Open Data to Deliver Public Services’.
As well as showing the opportunities for data to those internal to an organisations there are further benefits to engaging a wider group of stakeholders in the opportunities of data using open innovation techniques and approaches. Bringing a wider group of organisations together to focus on an issue builds trust, fosters collaboration and highlights opportunities for innovation which might not be initially obvious.
From 2013 to 2015 I led the Open Data Challenge Series for Nesta, in partnership with the Open Data Institute. The Open Data Challenge Series was a series of seven accelerator programmes to support startups and social entrepreneurs to use open data released by Government to create products to solve social problems. A PWC impact assessment of the ODCS showed that the return on investment for the programme was between £5-£10 for every £1 spent. I’ve also helped shape two rounds of challenges for the Data Pitch accelerator programme.