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Open Innovations
Annual review 2022


  1. Introduction
  2. Who are we?
  3. What do we do?
  4. Who do we work with?
  5. How do we work?
  6. Why does our work matter?
  7. Here is what we did in 2022
    1. Innovation events
    2. Partner projects
    3. Communications
  8. Events, workspace and virtual events
  9. Social, charity, and sustainability
  10. The future


Welcome to our Annual Review of 2022. Our review is a little different from many others as it is published openly on the web available to all.

Our #RadicallyOpen approach means that when you work with us we all work:

Read on to find out who we are, why we do what we do and how we do it.

Paul Connell & The Open Innovations team, January 2023

Who are we?

Open Innovations was formerly ODILeeds. We are a not for profit independent small business operating from our workspace and conference venue in central Leeds.

We innovate in the open with data, working with our sponsors, partners, companies, organisations, governments and individuals. We help others to access, use and share data – to use the web as it was intended – and create massive surpluses of shared value.

Our team is small but knowledgeable, experienced and talented, with a mix of backgrounds including data science, data analysis, innovation, economics, marketing & comms, IT, web development, project management and much much more.

At the end of 2022 we said a sad goodbye to Daniel Boam and Ruby Vogel.

What do we do?

We are doers not talkers; we innovate iteratively on the web by working at pace, being on the web, testing rapidly, building prototypes and creating real tools/ websites and data assets and infrastructure.

Our mission led approach means that we work on stuff that matters to us, our sponsors, partners and network. Everything we do is on our website .

We focus on these key areas:

Within these, we have core themes:

Who do we work with?

Anyone that has an interest in data, working with data, sharing data, innovating with data, analysing data, publishing data openly on the web. So far this has been local authorities, governments, cultural programmes, think tanks, public and private sector organisations from every sector.

We work in two main ways either:

Our sponsors during

How do we work?

Open Innovations has existed since 2013 with the intention of being #RadicallyOpen making a difference in North England.

For the past 8 years we have focused on showing and demonstrating how; being open, using open data, innovating and sharing openly can and does work, making a huge difference.

The biggest change that we experienced in 2022 is an acceleration in our evolution in what people and organisations expect from us.

In simple terms we can describe this as moving from

show me what we can do with data and the web, so I can try to sell it back to other people


our organisation knows it needs to do things differently with data but we are not sure how to do it, please can you help us.

We are seeing that people and organisations are now frustrated and exasperated with the mountains of reports and consultation that they feel is required to get anything done. They now understand that being #RadicallyOpen trying to #KillAllReports and using the web as it was intended is an appropriate response to the endless process planning and talking that we all experience before we can start anything.

It also represents a response to the pandemic - people and organisations saw that whatever context (health, transport, property, HR, & many others) needed credible data at pace (real time if possible) to make informed decisions so that they could plan and update their operations in response and this data needed to be presented on the web.

This has meant that in addition to our work with our Sponsors we have grown our delivery capacity (Who we are) and developed long term delivery partnerships with organisations that need support to innovate with data to support their work e.g.

In 2023 we will continue our work with these organisations plus The JRF, Bradford 2025, West & North Yorkshire Chamber (LSIP) Northern Powerhouse partnership & Leeds City Council Economic Development.

Our work is dominated by the public and regulated sectors or delivering publicly funded programmes. Much of the failure of delivery in excellent data projects or programmes that we experience emanates from the UKs centralised institutions that in our opinion have made limited progress or actually “Done Anything” - our approach provides organisations alternative credible approaches that focus on outputs and progress that suit their budgets, ambitions and imperatives.

2023 is our ninth year of operation and we have learned that making detailed plans is often futile 😁 however working collaboratively on our mission led themes, being #RadicallyOpen and listening carefully has been key to our success.

Therefore we know that 2023 will include at least:

Plus all the important and other fabulous stuff that we expect to happen in 2023.

Why does our work matter?

Our most important success is that Open Innovations exists as a new type of organisation in North England.

As a self-funded, independent, not-for-profit organisation we need to be aware of our commercial situation to stay in business.

Our revenue streams are made up of workspace hire, sponsor support and our data partnerships and projects.

It is not that difficult to put a value on our work as we measure it openly for anyone to see via our dashboard - but here is a list of our impact & value:

Here is what we did in 2022

At 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.

Innovation events

Innovation is what Open Innovations is all about. 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.

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

Partner 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).

We maintain and work on many ongoing projects but we started working on new projects with partners during 2022:


Open Innovations is #RadicallyOpen. We work in the open. All 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, sharing info, and also has a monetary value relative to our sponsors, partners and clients.


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

Across our main website as well as microsites for particular projects.

Website breakdown
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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

Note that the spike in June is due to YouTube making one of our #OpenDataSavesLives sessions a "Suggested video" in the sidebar.

Fruit with the whiteboard walls in the background
The space

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.

We hope 2023 will see a steady return to physical meetings for us all as having a physical space is important to us. In 2022 we delivered 137 events reaching over 2,700 people.

We also have the kit and capability to run virtual events, which allows us to reach beyond Leeds with our work.

Looking through the door of The Gather
The Gather

Social, charity, and sustainability

Our work, our impact, our knowledge and our workspace are great so it’s no surprise that we get asked a lot by a wide variety of organisations to use our space, resources, and services for free. As a not for profit, non funded organisation we simply cannot operate on this basis. However, we do choose a couple of relevant projects each year to support with some of the funds raised by sponsorship and events.

Open Innovations will be making a cash donation this year to - helping ensure children don't go without a bed to sleep in.

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 sponsorship and other revenues can support work and projects that make a difference.

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 2022 this has meant that our collective investment has allowed projects including #OpenDataSavesLives #PlanetData #Diversity Data and the WarmSpaces Finder tool to make a difference for everyone.

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.

What next?

We have a packed program already in 2023 of innovation events with PlanetData5, OpenDataSavesLives and the Northern Economic Data User Group. We are working on some interesting projects with the UK Parliament and continuing our data partner work with Leeds 2023, Leeds Digital Festival and Youth Futures Foundation helping them to share their data and impact openly.

So please join in, share, get involved and get in touch. Working together is more impactful and more fun.

Paul and the Open Innovations team

Acknowledgements & Notes

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