Crowdsourcing Analysis for Policymakers

Crowdsourcing Analysis for Policymakers is the first of five planned Political Innovation Translation Layer evening events in the new year. These free events are taking place and the Adam Street Club just off The Strand in London. Get your tickets now – places are limited. You may also decide to stick around for dinner afterwards?

We’ve got the perfect speaker for the first event: Andrew Stott retired recently from the post of Director of Digital Engagement. During his time at The Cabinet Office, Andrew oversaw the launch of Data.gov.uk – a pioneering project intended to create a new level of transparency and intellectual capital around government.

By making raw information widely available, all kinds of possibilities have been opened up to change the way policymaking is done. No-one working in politics can afford not to understand how this will happen.

All five events intend to cram the following features into them:

To be a translation layer. I pinched that idea from a speech by Ben Hammersley in which he identified the need to explain innovation more widely. Having worked for some time in the overlap between politics and innovative media, a breakdown in communication has always been evident. Innovators are often impatient with incumbents. They’re bed-blockers. They just don’t get it, man! On the other hand, the incumbents often have a very clear idea as to why the bright ideas of innovators just won’t work. Or sometimes, they adopt a very simplistic version of what innovators urge upon them (see e-petitions). These events are intended to open a discussion between those urging innovation upon politicos, and the politicos who already know what ideas just won’t work.

Brevity. These are evening events. We’re planning to have only one speaker at them, and we’re asking the speakers to prepare a short, high-impact talk. The aim is not to provide anything that is absolutely cutting-edge in terms of innovation. Instead, we’re looking for something that explains why the matter in hand could be more interesting to politicos than they may think.

A thought experiment. These five events will look at how some innovative concepts could change the way we use and see think tanks. Think tanks are problematic. Dr Andy Williamson has written a number of short posts here explaining why. They’ve not (yet) been hit by the demands for transparency that politicians, the media and government in general have had to to endure. But they may do so soon. Being more familiar with the concepts that these talks will cover may help to shape the next generation of think tanks.

A networking opportunity. Adam St is a great venue for networking events. We are aiming to attract an eclectic mix of people along, and we’re working with Elwood & Atfield to promote these evenings. Elwood & Atfield are very active in the CIPR Public Affairs Group and have a great database of people who work at the top of the politics and public affairs professions.

Along with the geeks, gamers and bloggers that have been to previous political innovation events, we’re aiming for a few politicians, policy-wonks and campaigners. Everyone should come away with the kind of contacts that they won’t meet anywhere else.

All events will feature a short session in which everyone in the room will be able to see who else is listening.

About Paul Evans

Living in London but working all over Britain and Ireland, Paul is the curator of the Political Innovation project. On twitter as @paul0evans1, blogging mainly at the Local Democracy blog and working mostly for Memeserver Ltd.
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