Could we create and implement a one-day programme devoted to open data and their value in tackling current social issues. This is the challenge that Digitale Steden Agenda (DSA) brought to the BRAND team. DSA organised the Open Data Estafette Smart Cities together with the ministries of Infrastructure and the Environment, Economic Affairs, and Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, ECP, Platform voor informatiesamenleving and the municipality of The Hague.
Can a solid business case on topical social issues, including a pilot project, be devised in just one day? Rather than organise a standard day programme when the organisation does the talking while the audience listens, we wanted to all stakeholders to actively participate.
Our strategy was to bring together business owners, policy makers, researchers and officials to collaborate on an assignment: develop high-potential business models utilising data to tackle social issues. For instance, to look at how open data can be used to organise care for the elderly, make beaches safer and more accessible, or improve air quality. The Ministry of Economic Affairs offered two money prizes so the best ideas could immediately be turned into pilot projects.
In addition to a sell-out venue and a trending topic on social media, the key result was the buzz created around the event. The new programming style was a hit with participants, speakers and organisers. Experimenting with business cases will be incorporated into future Estafettes.