#HumanData Discovery Project – The Data Loop

Back in June as part of XJam Gov we worked with Service Design agency Redfront to test out a Data Canvas – It was a new experience for those who were involved in the testing but it really helped humanise data and got us thinking about the interactions around data more…

The good news is that as part of the evolution of the data canvas Redfront have been busy developing the next iteration.

#humandata is a Discovery Project which looks at how we can take data beyond the realm of developers and hackers and put it into the hands of everyone.… Read the rest

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Cultivating the Common; Inspiring our Vision and Operating Model

Cultivating the Common; lets get serious about coproduction

Inspiring our Vision and Operating Model

You may not have realised it at the time, but local government probably featured in your earliest experiences. Perhaps the municipal park comes to mind, with carefully laid out and tended flowerbeds and an occasional caution to “Keep off the Grass”. Thoughtfully designed, professionally maintained but rather paternalistic, the park could serve as a metaphor for traditional “top down” services. But funding cuts and spiralling demand have compelled us to face up to long standing limitations of this approach.

Simon Parker of the New Local Government Network (NLGN) uses the idea of landscape to describe how decisions taken now will affect local places and communities in the long term.… Read the rest

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Open Data Comes to Devon

It is great news that Devon is now home to an Open Data Institute (ODI) Node, which formed only recently. The new Communications Node will work with councils, emergency services, community organisations, business and citizens across the county to improve innovation and boost transparency in every sector.

Official Press Release is available here

ODI Devon is hosted by Service Design agency Redfront, in partnership with the Council. Redfront’s international networks will help to provide new perspectives and partnership opportunities for the Node, while further developing its research projects around data and Service Design. Lucy Knight and Martin Howitt are the key contacts at the council around this work and are working very closely with Redfront to help make this grow and develop further.… Read the rest

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Unpicking data and using it to shape development

One of the changes we've made to this blog recently is a drive to make it more dynamic, with regular, snappy updates about projects, ideas or anything else related to change and transformation. As I haven't contributed for, ahem, quite a while, I'll use that as an excuse for the less-than-snappy post that follows. This actually started out as a report about a specific piece of work, which evolved into a blog post as I thought it was worth sharing. I hope people find it interesting.

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Switching from Digital to Devon

From today we have opened up the blog to anyone across the council who is working on change and transformation projects

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Getting the digital message out to parish and town councils

Social media session with South West County Secretaries of the Association of Local Councils.

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One month in: “digital by design”

I owe Ed Cross a big favour. With a day before the deadline he pointed out a job advertisement that he himself was applying for, and said, “have you seen this?”

I had a hunch, when I read the job description, that hiding behind the rather obtuse job title of “Public Information and Creative Services Manager” was a rather more interesting and challenging role. So despite the risk (moving from a permanent post to a one year fixed term contract at a time when the public sector is facing unprecedented upheaval and funding cuts… doh!) I rolled the dice, took a bet, and fired in the application fifteen minutes before the midnight deadline.… Read the rest

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Some changes in the team

Over the last 6 months we have seen quite a few changes in the team which has contributed to the lack of posting and sharing on here but we hope this will change over the coming weeks and months.

1) Russell us left in January to work for Plymouth University as their Social Media Manager – we obviously miss him – but we are also pleased to see him doing really well in his new job.

2) Sam left at the end of May  – we miss him too – to start a new business with a former team member James – they are already doing some amazing things and we wish them both luck in their new venture.… Read the rest

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Come and work with us

An exciting opportunity has come up for us to recruit to the team. We are looking for a Public Information and Creative Services Manager.

The main purpose of the role will be lead the delivery and development our new approach to public information and access.

You can get a flavour of the type of work we are doing by checking out this site.

We are looking for someone who is proactive, collaborative and focused and who understands the challenges and opportunities around public information and access.

You could play a leading role in challenging our thinking, our approach and enabling us to deliver high quality public information for users so they can self help across a range of channels.… Read the rest

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Can I speak plainly?


We can speak plainly but, according to recent reports, those of us in central and local government rarely do. We communicate complex ideas to other people every day (the plot of Homeland for instance) so why do we struggle to tell the public what our services are and how to access them?

In the course of my work I’ve come across three main reasons.


1.    The Rules
The grammar you learn in your formative years often becomes the basis of your writing for the rest of your life. In many cases the rules you are taught become so much part of your writing style that you don’t even realise you’re following them; which makes them very tricky to unlearn.… Read the rest

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