RnR Organisation Digital WM™: Project 2020

We aim to develop and support a more creative and collaborative mindset amongst people working in and governing the VCSE sector so that they know how to use the internet and digital technology more efficiently in order to help their beneficiaries. This should also increase their efficiency and productivity e.g. automating repetitive tasks. We are also hoping that by the end of the project they will be more able and willing to use freely available digital tools and software.

We are exploring essential issues and activities not currently supported by the major tech for good project funders.

We envisage that the objectives will impact on the VCSE Sector in the following ways:

  • Developing capacity to ensure an organisation becomes ‘digital ready’ or digitally improved
  • Providing or developing appropriate staff/volunteer training
  • Exploring and increasing organisations’ digital footprint to include updating individual websites and engaging in routine social media campaigns
  • Organising and running Exploration events or Hack Days to aid development and delivery of activity
  • Reinforcing/increasing capacity/usage of current system.
  • Exploring need for upgrading of internal IT systems
  • Developing project / economic reasoning for (large scale) capital investment in IT

We will achieve the delivery of the Project 2020 objectives through these three themed areas:

See our more detailed Digital WM™: Project 2020 plan in our Resources section here

Exploring public realm transformation

Introduction

Visualisations within this post are to be published soon by RnR Organisation in a series of essays that explore public realm transformation

The visualisations explore the systems within public realm process of decision making and its influences on other sectors, primarily the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS).

Within this post the visualisations are in 4 sections though they may appear in a different order in forthcoming essays

Section 1

This section (1 of 4) identifies what we call the current linear process of public realm decision making and its subsequent impact on transformation of VCS engagement within ‘product’ development and innovation of services (Fig 01).

Fig 01 Linear Process

The second visualisation (Fig 01i) identifies how the linear process affects the development of ‘products’ and services, with subsequent visualisations (Figs 01ii & 01iii) exploring how public realm transformation is driving and ‘informing’ product and service development within VCS organisations and the voluntary sector.

Fig 01i Linear Process transformation

 

Fig 01ii Supply Chain modified

 

Fig 01iii Supply Chain

 

 

 

Section 2

This section (2 of 4) explores alternative views of ecosystems of support

The Three Field [Asset Based Community Development] Model ™ (Fig 02) was developed by RnR Organisation in 2015. It compartmentalises aspects of support to individuals with health provision but can be utilised in other public provision.

Fig 02 Three Field Model

 

Fig 02i Ring of Confidence

The Ring of Confidence™ (Fig 02i) developed by Poc Zero, outlines agency support to an individual.

Boxes of Support™ (Fig 02ii) was developed by RnR Organisation, in discussion with Poc Zero, as an addendum to the Ring of Confidence™.

Fig 02ii Boxes of support
Fig 02iii New Paradigm

 

 

 

 

 

The next visualisation is Dan Duncan’s ‘New Paradigm for Effective Community Impact’ (Fig 02iii). This identifies the fundamental difference between needs and deficit-based provision, delivered through the linear process, and an asset-based approach that focusses on people being the core to developing ideas and activities. With additional resources available from ABCD Institute.

The last two visualisations (Fig 02iv & Fig 02v) provide a different view of the Three Field Model ™, identifying how commissioning and the linear process affects current practice within Field One (Statutory provision), Field Two (Places to go) and Field Three (Community assets).

Fig 02iv Three Field Commissioning Model

 

Fig 02v Linear Process and Three Field

 

Section 3

This section (3 of 4) outlines processes that are included within public realm commissioning but, we would argue, not in their ‘absolute’ forms.

Product development (innovation) (Fig 03) is a term used frequently within commissioning processes, as are the terms design, co-design and co-production (Design Process, Fig 03i). The visualisations provide an outline of what we consider to be ‘absolute’ processes.

Fig 03 Product Development Process

 

Fig 03i Design Process

This section also visualises the data ecosystem. One visualisation (Fig 03ii) is our representation of the public realm data ecosystem – who holds data, where that data is used and how it can impact on products to market. This ecosystem includes campaigns for opening data, lobbying and campaigning groups.

The Open Data Institute (ODI) Data Spectrum (Fig 03iii) provides an outline of which data sits where, from Closed to Open, and the last visualisation (Fig 03iv) explores how the ecosystem and Data Spectrum can begin to be fused together, exploring how data can be utilised in public realm decision making process

Fig 03ii Data Ecosystem

 

Fig 03iii Open Data Ecosystem with Three Field

 

Fig 03iv Closed Shared Open Data

Section 4

This last section (4 of 4) begins to fuse all the elements in the previous 3 sections into visualisations that lead to a new decision-making process.

The first two (Fig 04 & Fig 04i) re-present earlier visualisations with slight modification.

Fig 04 Three Field and data ecosystem 2

 

Fig 04i Linear Process and Three Field

The next two (Fig 04ii & Fig 04iii) explore issues related to data collection – by Field One organisations, from both Field Two organisations and Field Three ‘assets’

Fig 04ii Linear Data Collection

 

Fig 04iii Three Field Data Collection

 

Following that there are two further visualisations (Fig 04iv & Fig 04v) exploring the fusion of the Three Field Model ™ and the data ecosystem and how that process can be used to gather data.

Fig 04iv Three Field and Data Ecosystem

 

Fig 04v Three Field and Data collection system

The last visualisation (Fig 04vi) identifies a service development, decision making, eco-system that brings together aspects of previous visualisations.

Fig 04vi Wider Data Proposal

All images published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC-BY-SA-4.0) unless otherwise attributed

 

Tech companies and VCS organisations making social impact together

All people in tech companies want to improve the lives of their stakeholders, and this can include helping organisations in the charitable or voluntary and community sector (VCS) low or pro bono, an activity usually known in business as Corporate social responsibility (CSR) or Corporate responsibility (CR).

This can include giving the VCS organisation support to use technology better, and more, possibly to automate some of the more repetitive and time-consuming processes in the organisation.

It might also mean joining the Board of a VCS organisation as an unpaid Trustee or Director in order to assist with good governance.

We want to support tech companies and VCS organisations in the Midlands to grow and develop those kind of relationships. We can see there are mutual benefits to be had.

Benefits for the tech companies

Benefits for the tech company can include that the company can offer development opportunities to their staff to increase their employability and retain their talent. They can learn more about and engage better with their local area and community. They can develop new products and services, or improve existing ones. They can gain satisfaction from helping and reinvesting some of their profits and resources in the local community.

Individual staff members can get satisfaction from helping a VCS organisation which helps people in their local area and community.

Benefits for the VCS Organisation

Benefits for the staff of the VCS organisation can include that they can improve their technical and digital skills, thus increasing their employability.

The organisation can learn about opportunities to change some of its processes, possibly freeing up valuable time to spend it with users of their services. They can offer opportunities to local tech companies who want to fulfil their CSR.

How we can help 

We are members of the collaborative workspace and community of changemakers Impact Hub Birmingham.  We also do project work around open data at the incubation centre of the Birmingham tech community Innovation Birmingham. We have built excellent relationships with colleagues and companies based in each of these spaces.

This, and our many years of senior level experience and networks in the wider voluntary and public sectors, plus our wide social media networks, makes us ideally placed to bring together people from both the voluntary sector and tech companies under the tech for good/social impact banner.

Tech for good meetups and other initiatives

In 2015 we co-founded Net Squared Midlands (@Net2Midlands), a local branch of the global Net Squared network of tech for good groups. We run regular Net Squared Midlands sessions at Impact Hub Birmingham. Every month or so we run a session to bring tech companies and not-for-profits together to address topics of mutual interest e.g. agile processes, using video better.

We also co-founded the unconference for voluntary sector infrastructure organisations interested in digital transformation, VCSSCamp, hosted annually since 2013 at Innovation Birmingham. We work on a number of other related initiatives including the UK Open Data Camp and the West Midlands Open Data Forum

Want to know more?

We are taking these ideas further. If you’re from a tech company or a VCS organisation, or a strategic body which supports these organisations, and this post has sparked your interest, please get in touch with us to find out more and to start a conversation.

MORE RESOURCES

How charities can work with tech companies by Sam Applebee, 3 Aug 2017

Starting your nonprofit:digital partner relationship on the right footing [Conversation Menu], CAST – Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology, 2017   

Tech for good near you [growing list]

Thanks to Joel Blake OBE, Social Innovation Consultant, for some of his expert insights in this field

Smart Cities and open data

We have been undertaking research and taking part in event since 2012 into the impact of ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Smart technology’ and open data processes on third sector organisations, service delivery and future funding programmes.

Between 2012 and 2013 we:

Work from 2013 onwards

RnR Organisation is one of 3 VCSE stakeholders who developed the VCSSCamp unconference (informal conference where delegates from voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) support organisations e.g. CVSs, decide the agenda based on using technology better) starting in 2013. We have also participated in #SmartBrum hacks, organised an event to establish the West Midlands Open Datastore (a demonstrator site sharing data about the West Midlands), organised the first Datakind UK meetup in Birmingham and attended their June 2014 datadive, spoke at Leeds Datathing event which brought together professionals and other people interested in using data for good.

We are thus establishing a new cohort of partners outside traditional VCSE activity and have been developing this work of data-informed decision making, alongside at least one of our clients, Regional Action West Midlands (RAWM). We are interacting with a new network of relevant organisations in both the open and the data analysis fields, Open Mercia (data users in the Midlands), Data Unlocked (a local cooperative business in the field), the Open Data Institute (a national organisation) and Open Knowledge (an international organisation) which have a wider experience of ICT and Data Analysis which we can harness to benefit the VCSE sector.

At RAWM we were part of a 2015 Cabinet Office funded Digital Birmingham led consortium project funded under the Release of Data fund to help accelerate and automate open data extraction and publication processes from Birmingham City Council’s proprietary systems onto Birmingham’s new Open Data Hub to encourage citizens, communities, third sector to understand the value of open data to help solve community issues that matter most to them.

Future work

Our future research involving Smart Cities and open data will include:

  • Project monitoring and reporting

  • Monitoring client involvement and staff movement

  • Non-cash payments

We have example design briefs for the kind of work which the third sector needs in this area of work which we have put together. We would be interested to hear from analysts or others who might want to help us fulfil these briefs.

Virtually at OpenTech

I did sign up to attend Open Tech, the “conference[s] about technologies that anyone can have a go at” and at the time I had every intention of heading to London on a Saturday morning to be amongst other people who have an interest in ‘open’ – source, data etc.

I only decided not to attend in person this week – it’s been a busy month already with our usual workload plus we went to a family get together in Wales, we’re restructuring the IT in one of our contracts, I’ve started going to a rebounding (trampolining on low trampolines) class, I went to a funeral, we volunteered and ran a session on working with the voluntary sector at Blue Light Camp, we’ve attended one half of a day course on innovation, we had a VCSSCamp planning meeting, we took part in a New Economics Foundation event on Responding to Austerity and last night I represented the regional funders network at a barbecue. It was time to have a weekend off.

But this morning, in rain-soaked Birmingham, in a (chain – sorry!) cafe, I couldn’t resist ‘tuning in’ to the #OpenTech hashtag and, in reverse order, found out about (and shared) much of the following:

  • openaccessbutton.org/ changing the way academic research is accessed
  • Blockchain provides trust, it takes the place of a third party who would otherwise provide trust
  • Voting selfies: “Nothing in the law specifically bans photos, but the Electoral Commission strongly discourages them” http://socialforthepeople.com/2015/05/05/the-social-media-election-in-nine-tweets/ …,
  • @agentGav talking about the ‘state of the data’ and making it clear that ‘big data’ is a nonsense term created by vendors
  • @FullFact, the charity, is looking for a developer this summer http://fullfact.org/about/jobs , and
  • “Many politicians *still* mix up ‘big’, ‘shared’ and ‘open’ data. It’s terrifying,” says @agentGav

These particular tweets were important to me because: I want research data to be made more available, including to me; I’d heard of blockchain and wanted to know more; I had wondered about taking photos when I voted; I refer to big data in my work and now I know what an expert thinks of it; I think that, in the not too distant future, many charities will employ developers – I’ll certainly be encouraging them along that path; I am making it my business to ensure the politicians I know are clearer about the differences between ‘big’, ‘shared’ and ‘open’ data – and it’s good to know the ODI is too

Hashtags (and people who use them) – it’s one of the many reasons I love Twitter 🙂

Thanks to everyone who posted using #OpenTech

Open data and social enterprise – worlds colliding

On Feb 21 (Open Data Day) and Feb 22 we were in Hampshire at Open Data Camp, helping with the organising, delivering and participating in a few of the unconference sessions, mainly to do with data and charities, and engaging community groups with data and open data, the latter referring to our work at RAWM with community groups to support the development of the Birmingham Skills and Data Hub aka Birmingham Data Factory.

Fast forward to today and, in my role as Policy Associate (Information and Communications) for RAWM, I’m searching for events to put on the RAWM website to share with the voluntary and community sector in the West Midlands region. I see that, on March 30th, SEWM will be running a members event which will include Tim Edwards, Group Head of Regeneration The Aspire Group discussing Buy Social, the national social enterprise directory.

This is the year when, as I’ve said a few times on Twitter, I’m finding my #worldscolliding and this is another one. What’s the connection?

Well, as part of Open Data Day, new data from the Buy Social Directory was made available to Open Data Camp participants. This joint open data initiative between Social Enterprise UK, Spend Network and the Cabinet Office was made to ensure that, for the first time, there was the opportunity to track all spend with social enterprises by local authorities and central government. This is to increase accountability and identify new opportunities for investment in social enterprise

So, as members of SEWM via RnR Organisation, we’re looking forward to being at the SEWM members event on March 30th and seeing whether this data release on Open Data Day might also be of use to some of our fellow SEWM members, as well as giving us an opportunity to bring members up to date with the work we’ve been doing at RAWM on the use of data and open data by and for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector.

This could be the start of a whole new set of relationships!

State of my blog: You’ve done too much…

MultitaskI have so much to say about the various areas of work I’m doing that I don’t know where to start sometimes!

My friend Lorna Prescott (@dosticen on Twitter) says to start with the most enjoyable thing, the thing that you’re enjoying right now but I’m still stuck – sometimes this multi-tasking that women do means it’s hard to concentrate and get one thing done well i.e.to my own satisfaction.

The blog posts in my Drafts are:

  • FutureShift Festival reflections
  • When the public sector says “We haven’t got any money”
  • Building a West Midlands Open Datastore

And another one that could develop into a series so I don’t even want to say what it is yet

I know I’m not the only person with a busy life, working in many different fields – it’s called a portfolio career after all – but if anyone has a solution to this dilemma that works for them, please share it with the rest of us!

Steps on my road

 Kiental between Herrsching and Andechs, Germany
Kiental between Herrsching and Andechs, Germany Diego Delso, Wikimedia Commons, License CC-BY-SA 3.0

This blog was inspired by a post (‘Steps on the road’) from Jo Ivens, CEO of Brighton & Hove Impetus who, in a previous role, worked on a project called Databridge, which aimed to empower the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors to use Open Data

Hi Jo, Always good to read what you have to say so thanks for posting ‘Steps on the road’. In the post you say “Sad to say that not much seems to have changed [around the VCS and data/open data] in the last 3 years” but I feel a bit more hopeful.

Some of the reasons for this: I’ve been to my first CommsCamp (“unconference for communicators”) and first UKGovCamp (“for people interested in how the public sector does digital stuff”) in the last 12 months, and I led sessions at both on the public sector and voluntary sector working together.

I’m not saying the sessions were packed out, but some people from each sector came, and we communicated about commissioning, procurement, asset transfer and data, and I think that’s where some of the hope is – with the people from both sectors who are willing to build relationships and who have access to contacts, tools, data and information which we can share and make changes with. I’ve also attended my first BrewCamp and SocialCareCurry – again places where people from both sectors are meeting to talk and to listen, and hopefully, maybe sooner, maybe later, to collaborate to make the kind of changes we talk about.

Locally and in my region (West Midlands), there’s Open Mercia (@OpenMercia), a group of developers, data analysts and policy advisors interested in encouraging the release and use of open data for social, economic and environmental benefit. Our members come from the public sector, voluntary sector, academia and technology SMEs. With Open Mercia colleagues I organised an Open Knowledge Foundation Open Data event last year where some local developers, VCS colleagues and a few other interested people (about 20 people) came together to share and learn from each other, and make a case for opening up Charity Commission data.  We’re now organising another event for Open Data Day 2014 (Feb 22nd) and hope to attract more of the same people, and some new people have also said they want to be involved – small acorns, but I think we will grow.

Elsewhere in the sector, 4 of us from the voluntary sector in the Midlands organised the first VCSSCamp (unconference for people connected with (staff, volunteers, trustees) voluntary and community sector infrastructure organisations) last June, attracting about 40 colleagues from the sector, interested in using digital tools (and data) more and better. We’re now starting to plan the second one, and VCS colleagues in the North have said they want to organise their own VCSS Camp.

In September 2013 I delivered a presentation on the VCS and Open data at Birmingham Science City Digital Working Group, a cross-sector group organised by Aston University, where I quoted from your Databridge final  report. The VCS perspective was news to most of the attendees, but it was not unwelcome.

A well-attended ‘Data and charities’ roundtable for members of Charitable Trusts West Midlands (which I co-Chair) in September, with Nick Booth, founder of Podnosh (business which understands and helps people use social media for social good), and Andrew Mackenzie, a member of the Cabinet’s Open Data User Group 2012-13, as speakers. Members lapped up the information, and we are now looking at the possibility of doing some simple visualisations of members data.

You  probably know that Datakind UK (“community of data scientists and non-profits working together to better collect, analyze, and visualize data in the service of humanity”) organised their first UK datadive (“weekend events that bring the data science community together with the non-profit community to tackle tough data problems”) in September 2013. This event looked at the data of some of the larger UK charities, which is fine, but I believe this model could also be scaled down.

I hope you (and anyone else who reads this) will find it hopeful, in that this kind of work is happening around the country. Once I started to understand your work on open data and the voluntary sector (although I’ve worked in the sector since 1990s and I’m a qualified librarian/community worker, it took me a while), I thought your Databridge UK work was ground-breaking and inspirational, and yes, I think it’s time has come!