Bluelightcamp was my first unconference and hackathon. Expectations were high. I am happy to report expectations were exceeded. The venue, the attendees, the commitment were absolutely superb. But, something was not quite right…
Something not quite right
It boils down to the simple truth that we as a society still have not grasped the point of having information.
The fact that oodles of data can be generated now is fantastic.
Having a hefty percentage of this as open data is wonderful. But what is the point?
What’s the Point?
The point is what you do with it. Because by doing something, you have the potential to be better, more efficient and more sustainable. This change pays for the investment required to grab and analyse the data in the first place.
What I noticed is two common trends through the weekend. The first is that until you bring the data owner & practitioner into the room with the data engineer (typically the IT department), data remains data and not useful information.
The techies can work miracles. Data to information is the easy bit. Understanding the result is the hard bit. This needs an expert. Second, is that the power of information could be vast, but unless we react by changing policy, process and people. What is the point.
So, what can we do about it?
The first is to have a single trusted repository of well governed data. Then, create trusted information from this data. Via tools and reports, disseminate this information in an easy to understand way. Finally, embed the evidence this information provides in the decision making processes of the participants that provided the data in the first place.
Good news for Hampshire
The good news for Hampshire is that the HantsHub is the perfect start. Providing that trusted platform, with the tools and the easy to consume information. The harder bit is taking advantage of this information and embedding the findings into action on the ground.
However, it would be a shame if we cannot build on the advantage the Hants Hub provides and not change our policy, our processes and train our people in new approaches.
I am sure we will, otherwise, whats the point?
About the Author
Chris Cooper is Chair of Digital South, a Business South Action Group. He is one of the founders of Knownow, a company which specialises in “Big Data’ and “Internet of Things”
LinkedIn: KnowNow on LinkedIn
Sasha Taylor on Flickr