Conference Report

This year's edition of Swirrl's popular conference series saw a capacity crowd of technologists, data scientists, statisticians, policy makers and thought-leaders gather at the Museum of London in June 2017 to consider what unlocking the power of data means for them, their organisations, and for society at large.

Key themes included the importance of data literacy; how to balance individual privacy with potential communal benefits of sharing data; how people find data and decide whether to trust it; recurring design patterns for applying data to policy and how government is both a publisher of data and a user of its own data.
“By publishing data well once, the benefit is felt and multiplied in all the downstream steps.” Find out more about Swirrl's data publishing solution: PublishMyData.

We designed #powerofdata17 to be the kind of event that we ourselves wanted to attend. The tactic was simple: invite interesting, insightful people and let them talk. As you'll see below, it didn't disappoint. A big thanks to our brilliant speakers.

All the talks are available in full below - keep scrolling! Or check out our blog posts about the day.

Laura Dewis, Office for National Statistics

Better Statistics, Better Decisions

Laura talks about better statistics for better decisions. She highlights the need for statistics to be accessible and interoperable and discusses changes that the Office for National Statistics are making with publishing data. See the slides.

Rob Sinclair, NHS Digital

The power of Open Data to the NHS

Rob speaks about the power of Open Data to the NHS. He explains how MyNHS aims to bring together and publish Open Data to make a difference to services we all expect to be there when we need them. See the slides.

Steve Peters, DCLG

What's that coming over the hill…?

Steve's talk concentrates on how quality data analysis can make for more efficient and effective policy and service delivery. From data monsters, who breathe the fire of expensive licences and hide data in caves, to data engineers who are integral to good data infrastructure, he provides real-world examples of how data analysis has led to a better understanding and measuring the impact of complex real-world problems across authorities. See the slides.

Panel Session

I got the power!

Paul Maltby chairs the panel with Laura Dewis, Steve Peters and Rob Sinclair providing insights into data in government with points raised on data literacy, silos and privacy.

Ed Parsons, Google

Making Where Everywhere

Ed speaks about the role of geography as part of the web and the work of OGC and W3C in making unstructured data more structured and making structured data visible. See the slides.

Ric Roberts, Swirrl

Data platforms and the data value chain

Ric talks about the wider perspective of data publishing, where the act of publishing itself sits within that, what it entails and the advantages it brings. See the slides.

Panel Session

Data as Infrastructure

The ODI's Amanda Smith chairs the panel with Ric Roberts, Jenny Brooker (Ordnance Survey) and Ed Parsons on what what data infrastructure means in practice and what infrastructure we need most.

Tom Smith, Office for National Statistics

Data science for public good

Tom's talk centres on the new data science campus and the role it plays in using data analysis to grow the economy. He includes examples of their work and a call to arms for anyone using ons data to get in touch. See the slides.

Jeni Tennison, Open Data Institute

Using data to create impact

Jeni presents an innovative talk on data as a tool for more effective policy decisions. She discusses five different policy areas that data design patterns can be used in to make more timely and informed decisions. See the slides.

Panel Session

You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!

Jamie Whyte chairs a panel on data in a post-truth, alt-fact world with insights and opinions from Jeni Tennison, Gavin Freeguard and Tom Smith.