All about the Lab – how we work, and who we are

Trafford Innovation and Intelligence Lab Logo

The Lab has been launched for a couple of months, and I figured now is a good time to put down a little bit about what we’re doing, how we’re working and who’s involved. I’ll update this as often as necessary, and I’ll also use this to point people to when they want to know about the Lab.

What’s the main purpose?

The Lab is essentially a multi-organisation, multi-discipline data lab. We are bringing together data and data/information specialists from the various organisations that work in Trafford, to work on particular problems, that we think data can help with. By combining datasets and co-locating people we’re pretty sure we can give a really good understanding of needs and opportunities in Trafford.

As well as using open datasets, we will also be looking to release as much open data as possible. Cleansed data will be a by-product of the analyses, so making them available as open data will help to support future work, as well as provide evidence for decision making. Part of this is making sure that people understand the data and intelligence that we produce, so we want to work with organisations to support bids for funding, or research projects, for example.

We are also looking at how we can use technology to improve the way we get, use and release data – things like sensors and web-technologies such as crowdfunding websites.

How does the lab function?

The lab’s workstyle is loosely based around agile – we are constantly talking to each other, and the people we do stuff for. We release things often, so that if there are problems, or a change in requirements, its picked up early on. We call this Rapid Iterative Deployment.

Projects are managed using Trello, which we’ve found to be very flexible.

We are trying to be open and transparent – blogging as we go along, and have active twitter accounts and facebook pages. Things that we develop are open source, and will shortly be available on GitHub. Sharing what we do increases its value enormously. We are currently thinking about how we can make our Trello board public, or at least a public view, so that anyone can look at what we are working on.

In terms of the work that we do, we have four priorities that have been defined by the Trafford Partnership:

  • Mental Health
  • Aging Population
  • Unhealthy Weight
  • Worklessness

Not everything we do has to fit into one of these areas, but it helps with the prioritisation of work.

We also have four objectives to adhere to. What we do should do at least one of the following:

  • Help to reduce demand on services
  • Help to redesign services
  • Improve peoples (citizens, 3rd sector, private, public) awareness / understanding of the area
  • Help to attract or retain investment into the Borough

Finally – we try and fit our work into the four broad categories of Digital Social Innovation:

  • Open Data
  • Open Knowledge
  • Open Networks
  • Open Hardware

Most of what we do currently comes under Open Data or Open Knowledge.

Who we are

The lab was established by Trafford Council, with input from Trafford Housing Trust, the largest registered social landlord in Trafford. Initial funding was provided in part by the Cabinet Office.

Confirmed collaborators

  • Trafford Council (Funding / data / resources)
  • Trafford Partnership (Network)
  • Trafford Housing Trust (Staff / data / resources)
  • Trafford Public Health (Data / resources)
  • Trafford College (Data)
  • Cabinet Office (Funding)
  • Trafford Community Leisure Trust (Data)
  • Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (Data)

Currently in discussion with:

  • Trafford Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Pennine Care Acute Trust (Trafford Division)
  • Greater Manchester Police

People

Profiles of all the staff involved in the lab will follow soon.

Where is the Lab?

We are currently based in Stretford Library (Bennet Street, Stretford, M32 8AP) in a room off the main library. We are looking to find somewhere a bit more flexible that we can use as a workspace and a hackspace, but that will come in time.

Some of our outputs/outcomes so far

Get in touch

The best way to start a conversation is by email , Jamie.whyte@trafford.gov.uk , or over twitter (@traffinnovation | @northernjamie)

You can phone us on 0161 912 5146, and you could write to us (!) at:

Trafford Innovation and Intelligence Lab

Stretford Library

Bennett Street

Stretford

M32 8AP

Please feel free to get in touch..!

 

 

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