Visualisation as collaboration

How can we use visualisation as a tool for collaboration? Insight is best when shared; when every stakeholder not only understands the end result, they’re informed about the context and impact. In a nutshell, they understand “What does this mean?”.

This is a proposal I submitted to Joining The Dots, a symposium to share data visualisation knowledge and techniques.

Visualisation is communication. Making communication clear, concise and unambiguous promotes collaboration and discussion around complex and nuanced data. In my talk, I cover visualising data to promote collaboration and as an antidote to reams of text.

I focus on examples such as visualising metadata like the 360Giving data standard to help adopters understand how the standard fits together and the story they can tell with their data.

360Giving Data Schema Visualised

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.

Suggestions
  • 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.

Suggestions
  • 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.

Suggestions
  • 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?

Talks: Agile, Remote Team Work – Without Losing Your Marbles!

The future of work for remote teams, especially in technical and creative fields is remote working. Remote working let’s you hire or collaborate with talented people from all over the world, or just in your country, without the overheads of relocating. It also saves you from filtering out great fits because they don’t happen to be in a certain location.

That’s why on a chilly spring day in March, I presented a talk on agile remote team work – without losing your marbles at Agile in Leeds. The venue was packed, the audience were amazing and I can’t thank Emily Webber enough for ably running the show.

Here’s my 3 steps to working productively as a team when you don’t all work from the same space.

Step 1: Hire the right people

Q: You wouldn’t hire just anyone to (fur) baby sit, what do you look for in a potential sitter?

  • Responsible adults – People who do, are trustworthy and are independent.
  • Smart creatives – People who can highlight problems *and* bring solutions to the table.
  • Right mindset for remote work – People who don’t need the office environment (or are happy to recreate it through other means like co-working).

Step 2: In the right environment

Q: Have you ever brought home some supermarket herbs that didn’t thrive?

  • Be adult about dealing with problems – don’t let things fester, healthy group dynamics are at the heart of successful remote working.
  • Mind the micromanaging – this goes back to trust and productivity, focus on what people are producing not on ensuring you wring 8 hours out of them.
  • Remove barriers to productivity – environment (encourage coworking if needed and good working spaces), clear leadership (be a good scrum master, remove barriers and have clarity about task allocation or selection), staff wellbeing (make sure work life balance is retained and have good employee resources to manage stress), regular face to face (meet regularly to co-work together and bond).

Step 3: With the right tools

Q: Have you ever watched a professional at work?

  • Develop good processes around key needs (especially documents, tools, HR, health & safety).
  • Streamline your tools (find what works well for your team, mix it up, but don’t go mad).
  • Eat the elephant (Understand that this is a continuous group effort and take small steps).

These approaches have kept us at Open Data Services on the straight and narrow (today is our 1st anniversary!) and we review these as we grow our team (from 7 to 9 soon). Find out what works best for you and remember, keep working at it.