Visual Notes from Healthwatch Open Data Information Event

We have been sent some visual notes from the Healthwatch Open Data Information event from 12th June

We hope you like them because

opendatavisualnoteswe do 🙂


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Reflections from the XJam one week on…

Doing, Not Talking - #ggovjam #xjamgov

Its been over a week now since we had XJam Gov So I wanted to share some one week on reflections – I emailed a selection of the participants to ask for their reflections and I have included them below:


I’ve been energised into using the tools and techniques I learnt last week into daily practice which I have successfully done in 5 meetings this week alone.

I feel that the XJam has created a real buzz and the Jam Room is already being used by a variety of people and some interesting conversations have emerged.

I’m now reflecting further on how to engage more and more people in similar experiences and opportunities and focusing them on the challenges they have in their work.


I am a Police Superintendent with 29 year service which means 29 years of exposure to very traditional business processes and limited opportunity for innovation and creativity. The Police service is trying to change and open up to new ways of working.

As a first time jammer I found the opportunity to work with a diverse group of people with new approaches invigorating. Together we pushed the boundaries of our usual ways of working and came up with innovation that had a practical application in the public sector, transcending boundaries and challenging our existing service delivery assumptions.  None of us would have created this on our own. The experience of jamming is truly liberating and I would recommend it to anyone considering taking part in the future.


I was sufficiently intrigued to attend. If you get the opportunity – go for it! – Excellent facilitation provided by Simon and Phillippa. I met some super people. Created something new and probably worth developing. Learnt lots about doing collaborative stuff quickly that could actually make a positive difference to people’s lives. Fantastic team building/networking opportunity.


Being a jammer for the second time reminded me of how many ideas you can come up with in such a short space of time and how valuable and refreshing  it is to have people from outside the organisation. The Jam space worked really well and highlighted how much we had learned from last year.


How far we have come in a year! This year

  1. We have a dedicated space: our Jam Room. Who knew what an impact a space where we can be loud, decorate the walls with our ideas, express ourselves, and collaborate freely could have?
  2. We developed 2 workable prototypes (last year they were little more than ideas) that are already garnering interest from those who took part in, or heard about, our Jam
  3. The DCC Chief Executive popped in to see what we were up to and left with 2 commissions for us to impart our learning into different parts of our organisation
  4. We learnt EVEN MORE tools and techniques to help us design services around people’s needs
  5. We collaborated live with Barcelona and Poland via our new interactive smart board
  6. We truly moved from thinking different to doing different.

I can’t wait to see what happens next year


The Jam approach brings a blast of fresh air into problem-solving by putting collaboration and creativity at the heart of problem-solving.

I’d say that it’s particularly well suited to tackling the scale of the challenges we face in transforming the Council’s role. It’s a very different way of working and it benefits from using a different space – both mentally and physically.

The Jam room is a great environment because you can adapt it to meet the particular needs of your activity.


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Developing a DataCanvas – XJam Gov

For this year’s X Jam Gov we’re developing a new canvas to help people incorporate different types of data into their service prototypes. It’s both a tool for humanising data and to provide a useful platform for service innovation. It also comes with a set of questions designed to prompt exploration around the use of data.


We expect to test a couple of different versions during X Jam Gov and we’ll also be starting a wider conversation after the event. In the meantime we’ve also started a Facebook Group for anyone interested in talking about tools for designing with data

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The Jam Room

Jam Room

The Jam Room is a space for collaboration and creation, for doing not talking. With informal, shiftable furniture and an interactive whiteboard, it’s ideal for stimulating brainstorming, team problem-solving, visualising solutions, testing and prototyping.

The Jam Room is an informal welcoming space for anyone to use, to come together with others and try out idea for new services or improvements to existing ones through trying stuff out, and doing it quickly.

To give you a flavour of how the room could be used check out the summary of XJam Gov.

However the best option is to come along to the Jam Room yourself and experience it first hand.

Jam Room

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XJam in the Jam Room

Between the 3rd-5th June at County Hall in what used to be called the Goodrich Room in the Coaver Club a group of people gathered to participate in the second Global Gov Jam. I have put together a photo gallery on flickr which gives a flavour of what we were doing and how the new Jam Room can be used.

A reminder about “what is a Global Gov Jam?”

The Global GovJam is an event which will apply the concept and energy of the Global Service Jam and Global Sustainability Jam into the world of government and the public sector. Working around a common Theme, small Teams meet at multiple locations, working for 48 hours on building innovative approaches and solutions towards challenges faced by the public sector. At the end of the two days, they upload their results and publish them for the world.

The whole thing kicked off with some basic introductions as to how the service jam would work, what we would expect and how we would need to work – the most notable of these was Doing NOT Talking.

Doing NOT Talking

As this is a Global Event we were then informed of the Global Theme which was to be kept secret until everyone across the world had seen it.

This years theme was:


There are no rules on how you interpret, use of get inspired by the theme. It is simply there to trigger and spark ideas.

We quickly got into groups and then using a world cafe method – small groups capturing discussion on paper to a table – after a while people would move leaving one person to share the conversation with the next group of people and this was repeated once more.Global cafe discussions (Photo by Simon Gough)

We then created a range of 1 side of A4 posters using the themes and ideas on the paper and then voted on which ones we thought were the best.

XJam 2014

We then got into two groups and started developing the ideas further and using a variety of tools and techniques to develop prototypes.

We used a combination of

  • Personas
  • Service Blueprinting
  • Data Canvas
  • Storyboarding
  • Lego Models

Here are a selection of photos showing some of these methods:

Personas (Photo by Simon Gough)

Service Blueprinting (Photo by Simon Gough)

Visual Mock-ups (Photo by Simon Gough)

Personas and Lego (Photo by Simon Gough)

Prototyping with Lego (Photo by Simon Gough)

Data Canvas (Photo by Phillippa Rose)

paper Prototype (Photo by Simon Gough)

We also had on tap the expertise of Simon Gough and Phillippa Rose who have a toolbox of models, frameworks etc which we could pull on should we need to

The outputs of the two groups can be seen on the Global Service Jam website as we had to upload all and any resources to that through the two days

One of the differences for this years event was that we were twinning with Barcelona, Spain and  Szczcin, Poland. This basically introduced a new opportunity to gain feedback about our prototypes and ideas as well as hear about their ideas.

We were lucky to have an interactive smartboard in the new Jam Room and we used google hangouts over wifi to video chat with colleagues in Szczcin and Barcelona.

Sharing our prototypes and ideas via Google hangout with Szczecin Jam, Poland @xjamgov #ggovjam

A few personal reflections on the new Jam Room

The room previously was an awkward space and somewhere you wanted to get out of quickly – however my experience over through XJam was that i didn’t want to leave. It now has a different feel to it, that was partly down to the event, partly down to the people and partly down to the space itself.

I can only compare it to last years event where we used a couple of other rooms which were more formal and we found ourselves looking for alternative spaces to work, talk and build prototypes, but this year – everyone stayed in the room, used the space well and were very creative.

It is hard to pin down the exact benefits the room provided however all I can say is it would not have been the same without the Jam Room.

When you get a chance to use it, let us know how your conversation or prototyping went. Did you feel the space made a difference?

Here are a couple of panoramic pictures of the Jam Room, these were taken at the end of the day when nearly everyone had gone. I regret not taking one when it was in full flow…but i guess we were simply too busy doing 🙂

Jam Room

Jam Room

The results at the end of the two intense days were two prototypes and here are the videos we created which we hope explain what they do.


IMBY Movie from Redfront on Vimeo.

Whatever App

Whatever from Redfront on Vimeo.

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Systems Thinking in Highways

Between the 16th and 27th June we will be creating a dedicated open work space in Lucombe House (AB1) where a core group of people from highways, system users and some corporate colleagues will be rethinking and redesigning processes for the new highways information system, I-Ways System. We will capture the work as it progresses and circulate it for you to take a look. However, this is an invitation to you to come in and get involved.

The challenge that the Highway Service Deep Dive introduced, by using the Systems Thinking approach has been really useful in encouraging us to change the way we develop systems and processes. This should enable us to consider processes from end to end and make sure that any steps in our new processes add value and avoid waste.

As part of the two weeks workspace initiative the core group will be going out to visit and speak to staff and users to capture input to process re-design in order to ensure that we get the right systems and processes to improve the way we work.

We recognise that previous systems and process reviews have often felt closed, remote from those doing the work and disconnected from users. This is why we are creating an “Open Space” where conversations and discussions will happen. If you hear something that interests you, join in the conversation. The more people who are able to give a bit of their time the better.

Please invest a little bit of your time to get involved or to challenge what the core group are proposing.

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CLT+ UnConference

The Think Different, Do Different unconference is a new way of running an event, where the majority of the agenda is set by those attending.

The bulk of the morning is made up of three sessions, which will be spread across different breakout rooms. The topics covered by the sessions will be put forward by attendees during the first part of the day when the agenda is set.

Sessions can take many forms. They could be presenter led, where an individual has a talk they would like to give on a certain topic to present some ideas. Alternatively, they could be discussion based – the proposer would like to see an issue discussed within a group, rather than having insight themselves they would like to share.

All the sessions that are put forward are added to the agenda grid in one of the time slots and in one of the breakout rooms. Delegates will then be able to choose which sessions look most interesting to them.

This event is a type of ‘open space’ event. The rules of open space are:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people …reminds participants that they don’t need the CEO and 100 people to get something done, you need people who care. And, absent the direction or control exerted in a traditional meeting, that’s who shows up in the various breakout sessions of an Open Space meeting.

  2. Whenever it starts is the right time …reminds participants that “spirit and creativity do not run on the clock.”

  3. Wherever it happens is the right place …reminds participants that space is opening everywhere all the time. Please be conscious and aware.

  4. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have …reminds participants that once something has happened, it’s done—and no amount of fretting, complaining or otherwise rehashing can change that. Move on.

  5. When it’s over, it’s over …reminds participants that we never know how long it will take to resolve an issue, once raised, but that whenever the issue or work or conversation is finished, move on to the next thing. Don’t keep rehashing just because there’s 30 minutes left in the session. Do the work, not the time.

There is also one law of open space – the law of two feet: “If at any time during our time together you find yourself in any situation where you are neither learning nor contributing, use your two feet, go someplace else.”  Someplace else may be dropping in on another session.

Each session will last for around an hour. If there is more to be discussed on that topic, or actions to be taken forward, they should be recorded on Yammer to be followed up later or agreed by those attending.

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We’re running X Jam Gov 2014 from 2-5pm on the afternoon of the 3rd of June and then running daytime over the 4th and 5th of June  This year we are twinning with Barcelona Gov Jam too so we will collaborate remotely, swap tips and challenges over the course of the jam 🙂

We promise more ideas testing, collaborating, making stuff and having fun.. X Jam Gov will be held at Devon County Council HQ in Exeter and is part of Global Gov Jam – a worldwide event which will apply the concept and energy of the Global Service Jam into the world of government and the public sector.

Working around a common Theme, small Teams meet at multiple locations, working for 48 hours on building innovative approaches and solutions towards challenges faced by the public sector.

Get your ticket


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Predictive Models for Welfare Reform

Guest Post by Lucy Knight and Sue Rook

Over the summer, when most students would be taking a break from exams and deadlines, two young people will be deep in statistical regression modelling at County Hall. Sarah Blake and George Young are working on a project with Devon County Council and Exeter City Council to see whether the skills they are studying at university can help us plan our response to wide ranging welfare and benefit reforms set in motion by the Government.

The theory is fairly simple – linear regression takes measurements from something we can see, for instance demand on support services like Citizens Advice Bureaux or food banks, and works out whether it fits a formula. Even a complex event like the behaviour of a large population can be modelled if you have an idea what the different factors might be, and the advanced mathematical tools Sarah and George can command are able to test each factor in turn to work out what makes the most difference in the model and what creates the best ‘fit’.

Once we are confident about our model, we can use it to view possible future scenarios and decide how we will plan and allocate ever-reducing resources to support the people who will be most heavily affected by changes in the benefit system.


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Create / Innovate is back for 2014

This years theme for Create / Innovate is Think Different – Doing Different. We are also encouraging the use of the hashtag #ThinkDoDevon.

We want to encourage and support people to think differently about what they do and how they do it. As part of this we are working on revisiting and refocusing some of our meeting spaces to better support creative thinking whilst recognising we must also ensure we support the other types of meetings people have.

We want to encourage people to do something different (even if just for the month of June- although we would ideally want this to be a lasting change) That might include managing or holding a meeting in a different way, learning a new skills, trying new methods to review your working practices.

To help you we have listed a range of resources which might help you make those first steps.

We are starting to pull together a basic programme of activities which could support you but we would rather encourage you to do things yourselves, but you are welcome to share what you are doing so we can let others know and maybe inspire them also


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