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Innovating with Defra Data

A series of fortunate events at ODI Leeds saw Defra data being delved into and joined with other data to find insights and build prototypes. This is what happened at the final one on 30 March.

A number of key ingredients are in place to facilitate open data collaborations in Leeds – centred around a wealth of local expertise and a shared aspiration to transform how things are done using data. The open data culture in Yorkshire is also relatively mature. Leeds City Council is the founder and a leading partner organisation in Data Mill North, who won the Open Data Institute’s Open Data Publisher Award in 2016. Datacity is another example – a non-profit membership organisation, set up to enable organisations and individuals to use technology for the benefit of Leeds. There is also significant digital capacity in the Leeds City Region – it is currently home to over 8000 digital organisations (one for every dataset we set our self as a target to publish last year).

What we learned

Our partnership with the ODI Leeds node has demonstrated that working in an open and collaborative style can deliver a number of benefits. We reached out to a wide range of new partners from public, voluntary and private sectors. They learned more about Defra and our data. We now understand better user needs for our data, generally around discovering and using our data. Some great examples of innovative uses of Defra data were showcased in Leeds.

As an aside I discovered you can listen to LiDAR data! A clear take away for me was that the next step for Defra with this style of engagement needs to focus on specific challenges and that our and that data will have a big part to play in the solutions. An open collaborative approach can quickly deliver outcomes at significantly reduced cost compared with the traditional procurement approach.

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