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Open Innovations
Review 2021


  1. Introduction
  2. Dashboard
  3. Impact and Value
  4. Strategy and Themes
  5. Innovation
  6. Data Projects
  7. Events
  8. Communications
  9. Open Innovations Team
  10. Social, charity, and sustainability
  11. The future


2021 was an amazing year of change, progression, development and excitement for Open Innovations. New sponsors, new partners, new projects, and a new name all meant lots of interesting and pioneering work to share and learn from. Thanks to the continuing support of our sponsors, partners and friends we delivered a fast paced, high quality output in terms of data projects, virtual events, tech developments, data visualisations and radically open impact.

In 2021 we realised the time was right for us to become totally independent. After 7 formative years working with the ODI we felt ready to go it alone. Our move to Open Innovations has been welcomed as a positive one and almost immediately we saw our reach, message and potential extend to become a nationally and globally recognised organisation for the region that is a new type of institution - one that is #RadicallyOpen, with a mission to build and create real outcomes, focused on data and innovation. We thank ODI for their support and we will continue to collaborate with them.

We have been doing what we do - innovating with data - for over 8 years now. Our #RadicallyOpen approach works, using the web as it was intended - as a shared open resource. This approach in itself is innovative and it's this method along with our specialist team, our work ethic and the way we work collaboratively with our sponsors and others is the reason we are still here. Being #RadicallyOpen with Open Innovations has really demonstrated what can be achieved when we align interests, work together,and be massively ambitious.

Thank you and here's to your continued involvement and an innovative year for all in 2022.

Paul Connell & The Open Innovations team, January 2022

Our sponsors during


Being Open Innovations, we measure our work openly. Our dashboard is used to measure our progress and success. It is updated automatically, regularly and is open to all. We report on our sponsors, projects, revenue, events and social media. At a glance you can immediately see the value we deliver. In 2021 we delivered the most projects ( with starting this year) and highest event reach () to date.

Impact and Value

Why does what we do matter?

Over the year our hex maps were used widely, we provided advice to others on their digital strategy (e.g. NHS Digital), we were asked to speak at numerous conferences (e.g. Open Data Manchester Conference), our tools were used to help others (e.g. public expenditure statistical analysis), many academic institutions referred to our work, and Channel 4 broadcast the news from our space. In 2021 we have:

This is just a snapshot, for more read our blog post for a summary of 2021 or get in touch to get a full list of use cases ... there are too many to mention them all here.

* 13 million messages includes website views & social media impressions.

† Figures based on market value for similar work completed.

‡ Figures derived from OI Analytics and social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.) analytics.

Channel 4 live from our space
Channel 4 News live from our events space

Strategy and Themes

We focus on 4 main areas:

Within these, we have core themes:

The rest of this review details what we do daily at Open Innovations to support this strategy and the themes and who the team are.


Innovation is what Open Innovations is all about - as the name says. It happens all the time in our purpose built work space and now in a virtual setting. We have spent a lot of time on research and development to create our own methods and tools to do open innovation with a purpose. The #RadicallyOpen approach means that all the assets, conversation, and development is done in the open - we start small, have clear problems to fix, and engage as many and as diverse types of people and organisations as possible. You can access and use all of our tools and assets for free at any time.

In 2021 we hosted the following innovation events:

This section is generated automatically from the Innovation file.
Innovation list

Data Projects

This is at the heart of what we do best, our team of data scientists, analysts, and developers work on your behalf to design, deliver & maintain some pioneering projects which impact us all. This year we worked on the following projects:

This section is generated automatically from the Projects file and shows projects which we started this year (showing every ongoing project would be a huge list).

Events, Workspace, and Virtual Events

Use of the Open Innovations workspace by ourselves, our sponsors, and the wider community is a core element of the work we do. 2020 & 2021 were obviously different as we closed for large periods due to the pandemic. This did mean we were able to nurture our virtual events offering and we successfully hosted events virtually and physically reaching attendees which is phenomenal.

We hope 2022 will see a return to physical meetings for us all, but we will definitely continue with virtual events as they have many benefits:

The Bothy
The Bothy


Open Innovations is #RadicallyOpen. We work in the open. All of our work is published on our website almost instantaneously. This agile, fast paced, approach is possible because of our specialist team and the support of our sponsors and clients who are happy for us to work like this to make a difference quickly. It is an innovative approach which sets us apart.

We publish many articles and blogs, these are available on our website and are often reshared and published by others.

We have a very active and engaged social media profile covering Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube. It enables us to engage with an audience that covers the whole of the UK and beyond, sharing our news, project outcomes, innovation work, and more. Please do follow us and join in with our open conversations, and share your stories and priorities with us so we can share them. This social media presence is important in raising awareness and sharing info.


Website visits:?
Twitter impressions:?
New Twitter followers:?
Facebook posts:?
Facebook impressions:?
Facebook reach:?
LinkedIn impressions:?
Youtube viewing time (across all videos):? minutes
Youtube unique views:?
Total online engagement:
(measured in number of times a tweet, post, link, page, etc, has been seen)
This section is generated automatically.

Website visits

Website breakdown
This section is generated automatically.

Twitter impressions

Twitter breakdown
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Facebook impressions

Facebook breakdown
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LinkedIn impressions

LinkedIn breakdown
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YouTube views

YouTube breakdown
Our old and new logos and branding

Open Innovations Team

In 2021, despite continuing challenges from the pandemic, we have recruited, retrained and restructured the Open Innovations staff into a strong and talented team ready for 2022.

Here we are and how to get in touch:

Paul Connell

Paul Connell

Founder of Open Innovations

Kathryn Connell

Kathryn Connell


Thomas Forth

Thomas Forth

Head of Data

Giles Dring

Giles Dring

Associate Data Architect

Amy Evans

Amy Evans

Comms & Design Open Innovations

Stuart Lowe

Stuart Lowe

Data Projects Open Innovations

Grace Durkan

Grace Durkan

Events and Comms Coordinator

Tazmin Chiles

Tazmin Chiles

Data & Innovation Consultant Open Innovations

Michelle Brook

Michelle Brook

Open Data Associate Open Innovations

Daniel Billingsley

Daniel Billingsley

Data Projects / imactivate projects

Social, charity, and sustainability

Open Innovations will be making a cash donation this year to two charities: which helps ensure children don't go hungry; and The Bridge Project who support people experiencing barriers to achieve positive change.

We operate a commercial non-profit model which means that we use profits to work on our mission led projects. In simple terms this means that your sponsorship and other revenues can support work and projects that make a difference.

We do receive a large number of requests to provide help and support and the way we try to balance our natural instinct to help everyone with the commercial realities of running a business is to assist projects that fit within our themes.

The fact that we have established Open Innovations as a business with stable revenues means that your sponsorship can be directed towards these mission-led projects and we can provide technical support, space for meetings, and collective pooling of resources to make the most of all of our investments.

All of our current work has started with us completing self funded activity (meetings, conversations, events, web communications) and doing innovation (data projects/visualisations/tools).

In 2021 this has meant that our collective investment has allowed #OpenDataSavesLives and #PlanetData to make a difference for everyone. And that we have been able to work on collective projects on the economy, diversity and inclusion, and data ethics in response to requests from our sponsors partners and charity and non-profit network.

Looking forward to 2022 we are already looking at adding a stream of activity on how our work can be used, remixed and applied to developing data infrastructure to support inclusive growth and fighting poverty.

As part of our sustainable ethos, we try our best to be as green as we can - recycling, reusing, using local suppliers and products, cycling, walking and using public transport for getting to work and meetings, promoting sustainable projects, running events like Planet Data, and introducing vegetarian and vegan only catering. We hope you will support us in this campaign.

The future

Our plan for 2022
Our plan for 2022

We are hopeful and positive to see what 2022 will bring. We already have projects lined up that will see us through most of the year

Thanks again and here's to 2022!

Very best,

Paul and the Open Innovations team

Acknowledgements & Notes

This section is generated automatically.