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The Mayor of London The London Assembly

Fashion, textiles, and creating a data canvas – Update on the London City Data Challenge Series

This morning the GLA team, under the able guidance of Nesta and the Open Data Institute (ODI), both known for their work at the sharp end of social innovation and open data, moved to the next stage of developing a series of city data challenges for London. The venue was the Fashion and Textile museum, hence the intriguing title.

The aim of the exercise was to develop a process for an initial challenge in which city data is to be used to solve social issues, at the end of which we will have created products and city services of real value to both the citizens who need them and city public services on the lookout for innovative service models.

Nesta and the ODI are already engaged in delivering their own successful programme of data challenges, and we’re already learning from their experiences.

GLA policy officers, data analysts and researchers have now gone through a series of tasks including completing data innovation and challenge exploration “canvases” to identify the data and policy drivers which will make for an opening city data challenge which will set us off on our journey to prove the value of city data over the course of 2015 – a major goal for the team here at the GLA.

At the moment there are two main contenders for the opening challenge – community health services (moving towards preventative care and allowing people greater control over the services they access, and giving commissioners a better understanding of how to manage an increasingly mixed economy) and the circular economy (throwing less away and reducing our city waste). The next step is to further define the process and challenge, and we think we’re well on the way to the start of something exciting.

tanktopsBy February, we’re hoping to define a challenge that inspires the London innovation ecosystem in all its – like these tank tops – technicolour glory. Be you a developer, social entrepreneur, academic, design expert, businesses large and small, we want you to get your figurative knitting needles out and weave new patterns with data that might create commercially viable and socially valuable products that we can support, and that one day might earn their own place in a museum.

Watch this space for the challenge we come up with and for detail on how you can get involved, and if you have any datasets you have a burning desire to get your hands on in the meantime, please do let us know.