ODI Leeds

Open innovation with Ofcom data

Working harder for consumers is not a 'new year' goal for some organisations. It is something they strive for throughout the year, investing valuable time and resources into creating something that can improve services or benefit people. Choosing a communications service, like a mobile service or broadband provider, can be confusing and sometimes costly for consumers, and the situation is worse for those who have so few choices to begin with. We only need to look at our rural communities to see the divide in mobile and broadband, where 17% of premises are not getting a decent broadband service compared to 2% of premises in urban areas.

Ofcom is the UK's communications regulator, covering landline and mobile telecoms, broadband, TV, radio, and on-demand services. Their remit is ensuring that people in the UK get the best from their communications services and that markets work to deliver choice, reliability, and innovative services for consumers.

Ofcom are keen to release more data openly and see what new insight and innovation will come from that data. We are thrilled to announce that they have chosen to collaborate with ODI Leeds on this exciting step forward. Using an approach seen in our previous innovation projects, we will host a series of 'open evenings' across the UK to start gathering thoughts, questions, etc. These events will be free to attend and open to anyone who has an interest in telecoms and data. These initial meetings will go on to inform a further event - a 1-day innovation workshop, where people come together to work on solutions to challenges identified at the open evenings. For an idea of what our innovation days are like, we recommend popping along to our YouTube channel and checking out some of the interviews and live-stream footage, or visit any of the following project pages to see the kind of output and value we can generate in a single day: HighwaysHack, TravelHack, TravelHack2, Databus.

People are always at the heart of our innovation work. Whether it is one organisation trying to make things better for its consumers or another trying to make things better for its employees, data and innovation go hand-in-hand towards making these changes possible. A great way to nurture an open mind is to get away from the usual office, even from the usual colleagues, and step into a neutral space where there are no hierarchies, no bosses, no line managers, and no borders. Creative types mix with techy types with management types, all working on the same challenge. And because of the open nature of registration/attendance, you are guaranteed to meet people who are just as involved in the industry as you are but perhaps with a new perspective.

Ofcom are already producing a brilliant array of open data - broadband and mobile coverage, technical telecoms data, media literacy, and much more - that is ripe for analysis and development. There is more they would like to do. You can help guide the future release of open datasets or use open data to create a service for consumers or design an app that helps inform consumers so they can make better decisions regarding their telecoms services.

There will be three 'open' evening events that will act like warm-ups, giving us a chance to assess the current perception of Ofcom and their data. From there, everyone can suggest new datasets, ideas for products or services, ask questions, etc. Everything will be documented on a shareable, open Google Doc.

You can register for one of the open evenings below:

Leeds - ODI Leeds, Tuesday 6 February 2018

Cardiff - Indycube Trade St, Tuesday 13 February 2018

Edinburgh - Ofcom office, Tuesday 20 February 2018

All of the notes from these events will then inform and guide the 1-day innovation workshop to be held on 15 March in Leeds. Using the open documents, plus suggestions from attendees, a series of challenges or topics will be identified by the audience. People are then free to work on the challenge that is most interesting to them, whilst also working towards a solution that will benefit people using Ofcom's open data.

Save the date for the innovation hackday, taking place at ODI Leeds on 15th March.

Whatever your interest in media communication, you have valuable ideas and input and we'd love to see you at one of the Ofcom events.