HFI: Yorkshire - geographies, data, value

On 21 June 2019, ODI Leeds we held our warm-up session for the Hack for Impact: Yorkshire event in July. We had a really good turnout, and it was great to see people from different organisations coming together to pitch ideas and ask important questions.

After an introduction from Paul, we kicked off with Hannah James, Lead Adviser on the Sustainability team at Yorkshire Water, talking about how they've tried to measure their sustainability in a similar way to financial accounts - what 'profit and loss' is being made across their 6 capitals (financial, manufacturing, intellectual, social, environmental, human)? What is their organisation depending on and what overall value are they creating? It will be interesting to see how we can collate enough data to apply this principle to Yorkshire as a whole. The aim is to give a summary of overall sustainability measures, but equally importantly, to make all the data we use 'radically open,' so everyone can understand, use and benefit from it.

This of course, raises the question of how we measure the value and impact of individual factors, and where do we get the data from?

In Yorkshire Water's 'Our Contribution to Yorkshire' report, they used a variety of sources such as Data Mill North, DEFRA, and academic papers. We know that this data is collected but is not widely shared or published. Maybe we could take some inspiration from Co-Op's Community Wellbeing Index, which uses a pool of sources to benchmark quality of life in individual postcode areas.

Some of the other big questions raised were about how a dashboard might actually look: will it be one dashboard, or several? Could we, for example, create 6 dashboards for each of Yorkshire Water's '6 Capitals?' How do we unify the data? One of the key goals is to create an open data standard, so we could use the same data from any region and have the data visualised in the same way. If we could do this, could we create an index so we can have benchmarking across different regions?

An important point was made that different target groups will want different visualisations. One single dashboard summarising all our measures would be great for someone to quickly get a gauge of impact, but organisations probably want to be able to isolate individual factors - this is where multiple dashboards or other visualisations might come in handy. We're keen to emphasise that we've used a dashboard as an example and starting point but we welcome all kinds of outputs for the hackathon, from visualisations to data storytelling and more.

In practical terms for the hackathon itself, it's open to individuals and teams, and we will be reaching out to our extensive network to help get the right people in the room. For example, if your team is missing a developer, there will be people with the right skills who could join your team on the day. We also expect people might form teams based on shared goals and what they want to make. For more notes and thoughts from the session, you can check out the Google Doc (and your own suggestions and questions of course).

Warm-up sessions like these are important for shaping the agenda and preparation for a large hackathon like Hack For Impact: Yorkshire. There are topics/themes that should be explored in advance, and people can make a start on the ideas shared during the session, using the hackathon as a place to improve and share. It's also an opportunity to talk about sources of data. One attendee even had some data that she could publish and share but just needed some help doing it. We have collected several data sources so far but we encourage folk to add things to the Google Doc if they find anything useful.

With questions answered (and some important ones asked), the notes will help form an agenda for the hackathon and help guide the data collection. The next step now is to get registered for the hackathon itself.

Taking place on 16 & 17 July 2019 at Cloth Hall Court, Leeds, you need to grab a ticket via the Hack For Impact: Yorkshire event page. You can also visit the micro-site for more resources. We look forward to seeing you there!