Monthly Archives: October 2011

Crowdsourcing Big Society in South Holland

I’ve written a couple of times about the WordPress based ideas crowdsourcing tool we’ve been working on at Kind of Digital, which is called CiviCrowd. We’re delighted that it’s now being used out in the open by South Holland District Council, to find the ideas people have to improve their local community.

Ideas are entered by users using a simple online form, moderated, and then when published others can comment on them, rate them and share them on their own networks.

Part of the driver for this project is that all councillors in South Holland now have a designated ward budget to spend on local projects. This site is seen as being a key way of getting people to share those ideas in a simple and straightforward way.

There are already a bunch of ideas on the site, and that’s before it has been promoted in the Council newsletter and the local paper – that should be happening in the next couple of weeks.

If there’s anyone else out there that could use a site like this – you know where I am!

What I’ve been reading

I find this stuff so that you don’t have to.

You can find all my bookmarks on Pinboard.

The Twitter guide, updated!

One of the more popular things I have written is the guide to using Twitter in the public sector, published by my good friends at Learning Pool.

It was first produce a couple of years ago and was due an update, which has finally happened!

You can download the new version from the Learning Pool website – all for free, of course.

It would be good to get some feedback on the guide, and to hear what might be good to add to the next revision.

Don’t forget the Kind of Digital one page guides to various social media tools, which might be of use too!

Shelter Housing Database

Shelter Housing Databank

Another useful open data visualisation resource, this time from Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity.

The Shelter Housing Database“brings together government data on housing need, supply, affordability and other issues at a local, regional and national level”, allowing you to produce graphs and download data in a nice user friendly way.

Could be a very helpful resource for people working in and around housing issues.

Birmingham Civic Dashboard

Birmingham Civic Dashboard

The Birmingham Civic Dashboard is a neat project from the City Council that reports the requests made for services from the organisation and visualises them in interesting ways, such as by plotting them on a map.

It was funded by NESTA as part of the Make It Local programme, which also produced such excellence as the Sutton Bookswap and Kirklees’ Who Owns My Neighbourhood?

The Civic Dashboard aims to:

…make public, data relating to what issues people are reporting to the council. The belief being that when looked at on a map and in real-time the accumulation of data would provide and insight into the issues facing both the citizens of Birmingham and the council itself as it responds to the issues raised.

Interesting stuff!

Houses and clouds

The Government Digital Service blog is essential reading. Two recent posts well worth a look:

What is that beautiful house?

The phrase “not a CMS” has become a bit of a joke around the GovUK office (to the point where more than a few people were humming Once In A Lifetime), but it’s a key part of our approach. The Single Domain will include several components that enable publishing on the web but they’re part of a much broader ecosystem of tools wired together using APIs and designed to be constantly iterated to focus on user need. As we began to unpack what that means it became clear that we were going to need custom software.

Dr. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon, attends seminar at No. 10 Downing Street

Dr. Vogels defined cloud computing as “a style of computing where massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ across the Internet to multiple external customers”. Calling on his experience from across the globe he outlined how the flexibility and resilience offered by clouds has helped to transform some government instances via the idea of software as a service and the advent of reactive charging models. He gave the example of Recovery.gov in the US as just one of over 100 Government sites using cloud hosting.