Technology – Smart Cities
How can it help you? What’s needed? What’s missing?
This was a conversation proposed by Adam Jennison from Hull City Council.
There were two streams flowing through this conversation – one from the NHS that said “There is a problem with data – we have a lot of it, but it is not used as it could be, as it should be, to design services” and one from the local authority that said “In a couple of year’s time, Hull will have the solution to a lot of the data problems, our focus is on the Smart Cities agenda and how data can help you solve real-world problems”.
Strangely enough, these two streams reflected one of the problems that the conversation recognised and raised, discussing as it did the way that data tends to sit vertically in silos, rather than across all services – they didn’t entirely connect with one another. The NHS stream was looking for a human designer to find ways to interrogate qualitative and quantitative data, to bring it to life and make it useful, and through doing, to also decide what level, what depth of data would be useful to gather in future. The Hull City Council stream was saying “no need, just carry on gathering all of the data, on everything, then we will put all the data from all the silos together and patterns will emerge, and that will tell us how to re-design services. “It’s all about measuring, and managing, and once we have this Big Data repository, we can look at which processes we can automate – automating the feedback loop..”
There was some discussion about the development of Contactpoint, a database that was created a part of the Every Child Matters agenda following the failings of multi-agency working demonstrated in the case of Victoria Climbié, and which fell foul of misunderstandings about data protection. Misunderstandings about GDPR still have to be faced to ensure that an Open Data approach can be put to work to reduce gaps, eliminate duplication and improve services, particularly in mutli-disciplinary working.
The other stream said “But what about the questions we haven’t asked, the things we haven’t yet measured, the data we don’t gather, the other, qualitative wisdom in the system, how do we incorporate that into the design of our research studies?” That stream went off and asked some more questions about who is and isn’t in the room…