Grazing the Open Data Skills Framework

Where are you on your Open Data journey?

From novice to expert, the Open Data Institute’s Open Data Skills Framework has evolved to help guide your Open Data learning experience. With everyone starting at the Explorer stage, learning is balanced so you gain skills and experiences without the fatigue of too much information.

As a trainer and foodie, this subtle tension was familiar; it whetted my appetite to explore a foodie approach to getting the best out of the Open Data Skills Framework.

Sitting comfortably? Let’s begin.

Explorers: an Open Data Explorer has a basic understanding of open data. They can define it, point to examples or case studies and explain how it can be used to create change.

Serving Suggestion

The Amuse Bouche

Focus on mini case studies

Explorers have just started on their open data journey. They may be enthusiastic or apprehensive, or somewhere in-between. New information and ideas may need to be integrated and mulled over.

For explorers, I recommend bite sized case studies to entice them to learn more and clear signposting to where to get more information.

  • The 24 of open data – how open data is changing how we live, work and learn
  • Open data in numbers – a look at open data adoption
  • Crouching tech, hidden data – the open data you use every day

Strategists: an Open Data Strategist is someone who integrates open data into a strategy or manages an open data project. They have the planning and management techniques to drive forward an open data initiative, and they understand the challenges inherent in this process.

Serving Suggestion

The Starter

Focus on Methodology

Strategists know the drill, now they want to deploy it. For strategists, I recommend tips on how to determine what will work for their strategy or project, and what won’t.

This is less about open data itself and more about managing the people, projects, processes and pitfalls that come with introducing new ways of thinking.

  • Open Data Policies and how to get them right
  • Black-box thinking with open data – experimenting your way to smoother adoption
  • Start with why – is Open Data really what you need?

Practitioners: Open Data Practitioners have the practical skills necessary to conduct basic operations on an open dataset. They get hands-on with the data, and are familiar with the tools and techniques necessary to manage and publish an open dataset.

Serving Suggestion

The Taster Plate

Focus on tooling and techniques

Practitioners may range from reluctant to enthusiastic adopters of Open Data, but they want to get the job done.

For practitioners, I recommend revealing what tooling and techniques are out there and what for, including what’s new, what’s hot and what’s not.

  • From understanding to deployment – getting to useful open data using CRISP-DM
  • Automate, Improve, Optimise – how to work smarter with open data
  • Quick and dirty – rapid techniques for open data insight

Pioneers: Open Data Pioneers apply their data knowledge to their sector to solve challenges. They can point to sector-specific case studies, identify future trends in the sector and understand the data challenges specific to their sector.

Serving Suggestion

The Pot Luck

Focus on future trends and sharing knowledge

Pioneers are veterans who’ve tackled the challenges of open data, so they are ideally placed to look at where new challenges and opportunities lie.

For pioneers, I recommend a cross-pollination of ideas, challenges and opportunities from other sectors. Here, a focused conversation and guided workshop around where open data challenges lie may encourage contributions from experts and build a shared understanding of challenges.

Suggestions From the provocative:

  • What has open data ever done for us?
  • What is your open data return on investment?
  • Open data – has it failed?

To the exploratory:

  • What next for open data after Brexit?
  • What lessons can open data learn from open science?

The Open Data Skills Framework provides an ideal opportunity for learners to assess where they are and where they want to be on their open data journey. It also provides a landscape for trainers to adapt, create and innovate around sharing open data skills and techniques.

I hope to deliver one or more of these sessions at the ODI summit and look forward to continuing my own open data journey. Where are you on your Open Data journey?

The world is digital

The world is digital. As a non-profit, this presents an opportunity to take your charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation to new funders, donors and volunteers.

Digital is transforming the way we live, learn and work. Here, we’ll dip into what digital means for charities, the voluntary sector and non-profits.

What is digital anyway?

Digital has become a buzzword over the last decade and like a lot of buzzwords, it can be hard to pin down what it really means, even as we can’t deny its impact. For some organisations, digital means new technology, for others it means new ways of connecting and engaging with funders, donors and volunteers, or even entirely new means of fundraising. This diversity reflects just how digital is transforming the way we live, learn and work.

In a nutshell, digital is storing bits of all kinds of information as 1s and 0s. Deceptively simple but the shift from analogue to digital has had a profound impact: it gave us computers, electronic records, the internet, social media and a multitude of new ways to communicate, trade, connect and engage with people around the world or just a mile away.

When some people say digital, they could be talking about the technology, information, or skills that have impact on the people, culture and processes in a non-profit. How a charity, social enterprise or non-profit makes use of digital has an effect on how it is seen, its strategies and ultimately, its impact.

Who’s doing what online?

The world is online. With over 40% of the world’s population online in 2015, (up from 1% in 1995), chances are you’ll find your funders, donors, or volunteers using digital in one way or another.

ITU Facts and Figures Infographic

And what will you find them doing? Most of the 92% of the UK with access to the internet are shopping, watching videos, or socialising and sharing on social media, with new ways to use the connected web of the internet emerging all the time. Non-profits are also dipping their toes into digital, with many charities, social enterprises and voluntary organisations having a website or web presence.

Despite this, many charities are struggling to develop digitally and improve their digital literacy. Some notable cases of non-profit organisations using digital to transform how they serve their communities, raise funds and attract volunteers include Asthma UK and the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Asthma UK has developed a digital asthma action plan for beneficiaries after judging that they were poorly served by the paper-based action plans currently provided in primary care.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust has expanded its volunteer base by 450 per cent as a direct result of its HR and digital teams working together to allow staff in all departments to use a variety of tools, including Skype, Yammer and Office 365, to bring them closer to the people they serve.

Tip: You can find Asthma UK’s digital asthma action plan on the award winning Asthma UK digital resources page

So, what does digital mean for my non-profit?

For the non-profit organisation, digital is changing who you can reach, how you can serve your community, and how your organisation operates. To take advantage of the digital trend means more than having a website. It means understanding what digital means and how to use it to help your charity, social enterprise or voluntary organisation do the most good.

That means everyone in your organisation understands how digital works. With good digital literacy throughout your non-profit, how much more of an impact can you make in your community?