On Wednesday this week we are running our first #DefraDataHour. This blog post is to tell you why.
You may be aware that in June last year we succeeded in publishing over 10,000 open datasets. That number is growing and now stands at over 13,000. We are (rightly) proud of this achievement as it signals a number of things.
- Under pressure, we can deliver. It would have been impossible to hit the target set simply by following the processes and procedures we had in place for publishing data. The big target helped break the system (at least temporarily), and Defra group adapted to work in a different way.
- Without a specific target it is difficult to persuade people to change their behaviours. We are all focused on our own targets in our own bits of the business, and we don’t really spend time considering what others are trying to achieve and whether it helps us.
- Just publishing data doesn’t mean that anything exciting will necessarily come of it. We expected this. We expected that, while on one hand people would pick up on the release of LiDAR and do whizzy visual things with it; on the other hand, a lot of the data would be scarcely looked at.
- We don’t really deliver what our data customers/users/interested parties need. We need to encourage people to use our data and see what issues we are trying to tackle so that we can help them help us.
#DefraDataHour is about learning from these things and having an open discourse on Twitter about what others are doing with #DefraData, what we are doing with #DefraData and how we want users to engage with us to explain what they need from us in the future.
We have had user engagement via:
- Specific projects - however this is often the people we already know.
- The Environment Agency Data Advisory Group
- Events like our DataMarket and #DefraDataFunction Unconference
However we have never simply listened to an audience without first shaping the agenda. This is what we are attempting on Wednesday evening.
Here’s what we want from you:
- Be nice; we are listening.
- Challenge us. We will always do our best to respond as best we can.
- Share your innovations/knowledge/experience; we want to learn.
- Tell us what you want to discuss during #DefraDataHour
Not on Twitter? No problem!
Whether you are or aren't, you can follow the conversation at j.mp/defradatahour