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Leading the Discussion on Big Data Needs, Trends, Assets in Krems

Earlier this week Pavel traveled to Krems, Austria, to represent PoliVisu at a joint workshop co-organised with three other Horizon projects: Big Policy Canvas, (BPC), Big Data Ocean, AEGIS. The title of the workshop "Transforming Decision and Policy Making through Big Data” reflected the belief shared by all projects that the potential of big data to change things for the better is huge. To embrace change and precipitate innovation, decision makers must be bold and decisive in their actions. Often though, this journey starts with small steps, like understanding how big data needs, trends and assets (NTAs) relate to the policy area of interest.

Seeing NTAs as a stepping stone to bigger achievements, the organisers structured the workshop around these three themes and divided participants into several groups according to the specialisation of each project e.g. urban development (PoliVisu), public safety (AEGIS). After group discussions, project representatives shared ideas with the whole audience. Key take-aways from the group moderated by Pavel are summarised below

  • It is hard to overstate the importance of involving citizens in the design of urban spaces and policies. This bottom-up engagement will make policy outputs more relevant for intended beneficiaries, at the same time lending legitimacy to the policy making process

  • Urban development is a field where multidisciplinarity thrives. To create a pleasant living environment you need many perspectives, not just architects and engineers but also public health specialists, environmentalists, security experts etc.

  • Policies should be regularly evaluated to ensure they are fit for purpose. This should be done looking not only at costs and benefits (economic evaluation), but also by asking end users about their experience (perceived effectiveness)

  • Social media presents great opportunity for citizens to organise themselves and their local areas without the need to involve government, which may be cash-strapped or occupied with other priorities. Social media is also a great source for capturing the perceived effectiveness

  • People's travel habits, their preferences for urban spaces and services change continuously in today's world. Patterns in habits and preferences can be captured using big data and tools to create future-proof policies

  • Thanks to advances in big data analytics, urban planning has become more intuitive, insightful and accurate than ever before

The workshop ended with a panel during which BPC experts gave their view on NTAs. "Application of big data in policy making is growing but has evident gaps," said Nuria de Lama of Big Data Value Association. "We need to go out of the box to make the relationship more close-knit and relevant."

As PoliVisu prepares to enter its second year, the consortium is taking initial steps to roll-out an exploitation strategy that would ensure long-term sustainability of project results. This involves, among other things, organising a series of workshops with industry specialists to identify market trends, opportunities and challenges that can inform the development of PoliVisu's business model. The Krems event was the first such workshop. The next one will be run exclusively by PoliVisu at ICT 2018: Imagine Digital - Connect Europe. Information on content and format will be announced soon. Follow @PoliVisu to find out more about this and other interesting developments.

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