DATASPEAK: Living Longer, Healthier Lifestyles; A Collaborative Innovation Lab

Written by: Jack Rigby, Data Mill North (Leeds), 26/06/2017

After a successful bid for funding from the Local Government Association (LGA), the Data Mill North teams in Stockport, Newcastle and Leeds has spent the last few weeks collaborating across the region with other local authorities to spread the Innovation Lab format.

The aim was to develop practical applications using open data to promote healthy lifestyles for us all which can lead to longer and greater independence in older age.  After the events took place Stephen Blackburn at Leeds told us; “this was the first time we had facilitated Innovation Labs outside of Leeds so it was all a bit pressurised at times.  We’ve had great support from our colleagues in Stockport and Newcastle and I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us get with organising, hosting as well as those who attended and participated, and generally for making the whole experience a great example of working collaboratively and linking expertise right across the North.”

Despite the larger scale, our Innovation Labs remain recognisable to anybody who has participated previously.  We provide a space for service users, data practitioners, developers and subject experts to discuss a question, identify the key issues and to share knowledge and understanding by their experience to create a solution within a day.

By pooling our experience, knowledge and skills we are able to facilitate front line staff with the technical knowledge of a developer, and provide developers with the context of a problem that comes with lived experience.  We work hard to foster a creative atmosphere where people are inspired by each other and are provided a fresh perspective of what can be achieved through with open data.

Innovation Labs are busy days, especially for developers who present their group’s ideas as a prototype at the end of the session.

We’re now in the process of collating the pitches and selecting the ideas that will be taken forward.  All of the ideas had their merit and some key themes, issues and concepts have been identified.  Keep an eye out on our Products page as the finished product will be published there in the near future!

Do you want to be part of one of our future Innovation Labs?  Whether you’re a developer, an analyst, a software company, a member of the public or just someone with a passing interest – we want to hear from you!  Contact us in the first instance at [email protected] to find out more.