Can Open Data revolutionise Heritage and Culture? There’s £50,000 to help you find out

Written by: Briony Phillips, Open Data Institute, 16/01/2015

I spent the last weekend being inspired by an eclectic group of entrepreneurs, economists, knitters, project managers and developers who had a shared interest in how we can inject some fresh, data driven ideas and energy into the heritage and culture sector(s).

We talked about whether the traditional success measure of ‘people through the door or gate’ was truly a useful metric in the 21st Century. They had ideas about new datasets, volunteering, impact measurement, mapping experiences, patterns and much more besides. We considered them all many of which were driven by insights from people working in the sector. And ultimately, the teams selected 6 innovations to pursue through the Hack the City event that we’d all convened for – with the help of some great structure and facilitation from Jag Goraya. The event in itself was a great experience – from the opportunity to meet people, to quickly testing ideas and seeing what awesome progress can be made by a group of apparent strangers in one room, in one day.

I wasn’t attending just to experience the hack, I was there because the deadline for the Heritage and Culture Open Data Challenge is looming (midday, Monday 9 February) and I wanted to see these ideas become a reality by offering the teams an added incentive of a £50,000 prize. And it’s that prize which leads me to write this blog today.

The Open Data Institute and Nesta are working in partnership to run a series of Challenge Prizes. These Open Data Challenges are designed to encourage, enable, incentivise and support individuals and teams to use open data for social good. Participants in each challenge are supported through a carefully designed process to create new products and services that answer specific social challenges (framed in a challenge question) whilst focusing on user needs and using open data. Ultimately, in each challenge, one team, and one product or service, will win a cash prize of up to £55,000.