DigiCatNETV 12 months in – Part 2

Naomi Morrow

Naomi Morrow is Project Manager at DigiCatNETV

In part 2 of our blog looking back at our first 12 months as a local Digital Catapult Centre Naomi Morrow takes us through the data exploration spectrum.

We’ve found that all the projects we are engaging in are very different, appealing to a different audience every time. Therefore, we needed to make sure we communicate the right messages and opportunities to engage the right SMEs. This is where our ‘project spectrum’ was developed.

At one end of the spectrum we have a business challenge, similar to our recent project with Barclays, where the data owner identifies specific problems and is able to provide data that will allow SMEs to develop new solutions.

For a project to be classed as a business challenge, the data owner needs to make it clear that there is a commercial opportunity for the SMEs at the end of the project. They need to be able to explicitly say if the solutions are good they will be in a position to commission work.

We then have a less specific challenge, where SMEs are given the opportunity to solve organisational problems through a product or service they already offer when this product can utilise data to explore solutions.

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Business challenges allow SMEs to develop solutions for data owners

At the other end of the scale we have traditional exploratory hack and open innovation events and projects, where we tend to engage people who are either hack enthusiasts, those that have a particular interest in the topic of the hackathon, or simply want to showcase their skills to a large organisation.

Potential data opportunities

Hacks are particularly useful for organisations that are unsure of the potential opportunities in their data, or are interested in locating talented individuals with an interest in their field of work. You may wonder why we plot projects on this spectrum.

The concept of the spectrum was mainly driven by feedback we received from SMEs that employ a certain degree of ‘risk management’ when considering which projects to get involved in. In the past we’ve found SMEs are sceptical about giving up a day’s work and developing solutions ‘at risk’ for larger corporates when there are no guarantees there will be any follow-up after the event.

To minimise this risk and manage expectations from both sides we ask these questions of the corporate before deciding what format a project would take, ensuring the data owners derive value from participating in a project and the SMEs best interests are protected.

DigiCatNETV has worked with Barclays, Nissan and Data Movement

DigiCatNETV has worked with Barclays, Nissan and Data Movement

By maintaining a good relationship with the corporate data owners we increase the likelihood of them coming back to us with more data, creating more opportunities for SMEs, a win-win approach!

So what’s next for DigiCatNETV?

We’ve had a strong first year, with challenges with Barclays, Nissan and Data Movement, our open innovation competition setting the benchmark for future projects. We have projects with some big name corporates in our pipeline, as well as more regionally focused events with charities and local interest groups. Now we have a clear project process and project spectrum we have a much better idea on how these projects may look and how closed data can be used for the benefit of both the data owners and the SME community.

You can read Part 1 of ‘DigiCatNETV 12 months in’ here.

For more news, follow Digital Catapult Centre North East and Tees Valley on Twitter @DigiCatNETV. Don’t forget to follow us too @DigiCatapult

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