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Vicky is programme director Connected Local Government, a regular host on CLGdotTV programmes and has served public sector IT for more than 25 years

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Why ‘data camps’ are no longer just for geeks

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Jamie Whyte, founder of data consultancy Propolis and Julian Tait, CEO of Open Data Manchester, discuss growing interest among public sector managers in making better use of data for decision-making.

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Time was when people who talked a lot about data were highly numerate statisticians and analysts who talked mostly to fellow professionals about apis, uris, and specialist computer programmes the rest of us had never heard of.

These days, according to Jamie Whyte and Julian Tait of Open Data Manchester, more and more non-specialist managers are showing up at data events and responding enthusiastically to data analysis published in mainstream or social media.

One reason is that there is growing awareness generally of our increasingly data-driven society, with words like ‘algorithm’ and acronyms like ‘GDPR’ entering everyday conversation, thanks to wide discussion of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook and other data-related affairs.

Another reason is that people who love data are learning to make it make it more accessible to people who have had an aversion to graphs, charts and anything related to ‘maths’ since primary school. Better, more creative visualisation of data is encouraging people to engage who would not look twice at a spreadsheet.

Have a look at the brilliant work Jamie and Open Data Manchester have done with Indeces of Deprivation in which each local authority is represented as something a bit like a lava lamp...

 

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