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Reflecting on the past 5 years - a few words from our founder

ODI Leeds celebrated its 5th Birthday this year, and we are constantly amazed at the things we have achieved so far. Our team is driven to achieve much more in our mission to improve lives, help people, and create value.

There are so many highlights and we share everything we can and everything we do on our website, so rather than trying to summarise it all please do have a look around our website and check out what being #radicallyopen has achieved over the past five years. In the very beginning, we were self-funded, from a standing start, with some amazing friends who supported our aims and vision.

I want to highlight three things that have been crucial to our journey, and say something about what we plan to do next.

Our Sponsors

We now have a core sponsor group of sixteen organisations that know that the future will be more open, that they will be using more data, and that they will need to be working with many more organisations to be successful and meet the challenges and opportunities that we all know exist. We have co-created a new sort of institution - open, porous, collaborative, and from the internet.

Our Space

We have created a purpose-built innovation space in the centre of Leeds - which not only acts as a resource for our sponsors, our network, and ourselves it also forms a unique, neutral convening space to get things done, in Leeds and across the North of England. We have recently signed a new 5 year lease which means we will be at Munro House until at least March 2024.

Our Business

ODI Leeds is a successful independent, non-partisan, non-profit business (i.e no shareholders), with a permanent team of five folk and a wider team of another five folk. We now consistently operate at about 1/2M per annum turnover, with all profits invested back into the business meaning we can do what we need to do to drive our mission led work. We operate in four areas:

1. Events / Workspace
2. Innovation
3. Data Projects
4. Data Products.

We also spun out TheDataCity as a standalone business, and created Open Transport North as an operating model to focus on our transport work.

The successful development of ODI Leeds as an organisation means that we have had to agree with many of you in that we are no longer a startup, which is hard to adjust to but it's a great stage for us to have reached. So what does that mean? Well we are definitely not going to change anything that our clients, customers, and sponsors and friends love about how we work. It does mean that we have to think about the future - the projects we want to deliver, the people we want to work with - and how we plan to work towards it.

The new things we plan to do more of are:

#OpenGovTech (launching Summer 2019)

#OpenDataSavesLives (launching 2020)

You can see all of the amazing things we have been able to achieve on our website and our plan is that we will continue to do all of this and more under our #RadicallyOpen approach. The ODI Leeds mission and vision will still drive everything we do, we will just have more direction in our efforts moving forward.