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Major Cities Experiment with Data in Venice

Twenty-five local authorities, SMEs, researchers and national government delegates took part in an intimate policy visualisation workshop for cities held at the annual Major Cities of Europe conference in Venice on the 13th June.

Introduced to the digital transformation initiative, PoliVisu, by Lieven Raes of Informatie Flanders, participants had the opportunity to learn about the benefits of using big and open data to make better policy, before being able to be hands on with real policy visualisations from the cities of Ghent, Issy-les-Moulineaux and Pilsen.

After feeding back on their experience with the visuals, delegates came together to discuss their difficulties in using big data and share the experiences they face in the course of their work. Augmented by the interactive tool Mentimeter, the PoliVisu hosts learned, that the main reason big data was not being currently used for policy making was a ‘lack of clear purpose’, followed by a ‘lack of internal skills’.

Delegates also cited the need for more inspirational use cases, training and less-confusing regulations around data use to better help them unlock the potential benefits for policy making.

Informatie Flanders Coordinator Lieven Raes said he was delighted with the feedback from the participants: “The knowledge we gained will help shape the collaborative decision-making tools we are building in PoliVisu. Policy making is an incredibly complex and emotive subject; and if we can help different stakeholders better work together through a shared understanding of a problem then we offer real value.”

Raes continued, “after today we believe we are on track to help cities understand good practice and create training and use cases that could be of real use not just in our pilot cities but also across Europe’.

The conference event, organised by the Major Cities of Europe IT Working Group, included as stakeholders, mayors, policy makers, city managers, researchers, SME’s and corporates. In addition to the workshop, PoliVisu was also presented to all delegates on the main conference stage by Susie Ruston McAleer of 21c.

Contributions from the delegates will now be analysed by the PoliVisu, team who are formulating a big data for policy making Toolbox. The aim is to ensure public administrations and interested groups have everything they need at their fingertips to benefit from evidence-based policy making for themselves.

PoliVisu would like to thank the Major Cities of Europe group for their excellent conference organisation. To find out more about the Major Cities of Europe and their work click here.

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