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Leaders for Leeds – Making digital & open data open to everyone in our city

On Monday 20th April Leaders for Leeds met at the Open Date Institute to share thoughts on the question – How can we make digital and open data open to everyone in our city? Thanks to Victoria Betton, who runs the mHealthHabitat programme within the NHS, for sharing her thoughtouts on the session with us! See below and you can see tweets from the session here!

Our next event will be a breakfast meeting on Wednesday 20th May  – An opportunity to hear a brief overview of the recent trends  and potential future prospects of the city’s economy in the context of the wider city region, from Simon Foy  Head of Policy and Intelligence at Leeds City Council,  There will then be an opportunity to discuss how this affects you, your work and your communities in the city.  Click here to reserve your place!

From Victoria Betton…

We have lots of exciting digital developments in our city and a growing community of people committed to using open data to make Leeds a better place to live. On Monday 20 April Leaders for Leeds welcomed people to the Open Data Institute at Munro House to take a tour of all that is digital in the city.

Participants were invited to consider the question: how can we make digital and open data open to everyone in our city? We hoped the conversation would help people make connections beyond the digital community so that leaders across Leeds can realise the value of digital for everyone.

Dylan Roberts, Chief Information Officer for Leeds City Council, hosted the session and invited a number of lightning (short and sharp) presentations to provoke conversation and debate:

  • Adam Beaumont – founder and chief executive of AQL
  • Alicia Ridout – from the Health Services Hub at the University of Leeds
  • Abhay Adhikari – who runs participatory events like Age Camp exploring the use of digital for social good
  • Paul Connell – who runs the Open Data Institute in Leeds
  • Victoria Betton – who runs the mHealthHabitat programme within the NHS.

Emma Bearman rounded up the talks by sharing a few ideas and some evidence about how we might use the principle of generosity to open up data and digital to everyone. She challenged us to think about who might not be part of the conversation and how we can be more inclusive.

Then it was over to participants to find some answers to the question posed in a spirit of collaborative enquiry. Below are some observations and further questions that emerged:

  • We should start with the benefits of digital and data – they are just a means to an end
  • How do we ask the right questions? We need to involve diverse groups of people to make sure we are solving the right problems
  • Data and digital need to be relevant and useful to people’s lives
  • How can we better use spaces that enable access to the Internet such as libraries?
  • We need a common language for digital so it avoids leaving people out.

Whilst it was good to capture the spirit of the conversations that happened on the evening, the session wasn’t about finding instant solutions. It was mostly about encouraging the digital and data community to have a different conversation that connects them to leaders in Leeds with a whole range of backgrounds and interests.

We shouldn’t stop there – these are conversations that we need to build on, expand and take into lots of different settings. That is the challenge for the digital and data communities and for leaders in Leeds.