As a competition, the Nesta and ODI Housing Open Data Challenge has at its heart 20 million potential beneficiaries in the UK, about half of whom live in the private rented sector and about 5 million people each in either council or housing association accommodation.
Don't worry, you don't have to help all of them at once! We've commissioned and shared user research to help you explore the challenges that exist for different renters. We invite anyone with an innovative idea that meets a specific societal need, uses open data, and has the potential to be a successful, sustainable business or non-profit organisation to please submit their idea this week.
You might have an idea of how to help renters with disabilities, or those living in specialist Ministry of Defence accommodation. Or your idea might be a service to help improve housing maintenance or a product for engaging people more closely in their community. Perhaps it helps combat isolation among older renters. If you don't have an idea of your own, you might want to consider some available for adoption on our hackpad - which were donated by experts in the sector to enable more people to participate.
And then there's data. Open data is data which is available publicly and clearly licensed for reuse and redistribution; we've elaborated on our definition for this challenge here. Products and solutions that are submitted to the Housing Open Data Challenge will only be considered if they clearly state what open data source(s) they will utilise. We have collected a range of data sets, mainly from government departments and non-departmental bodies to help you target your ideas. You can use other data to supplement the open data sources too, whether that be semi-restricted data, user generated data or even commercial data (as long as you have an agreement to use it).
In the data that we have reviewed, we have focused on housing data but you also might want to use crime statistics or school performance tables for example – data.gov.uk has a wealth of interesting public open datasets from across the government departments.
What if you don't know the first thing about making databases or websites? That's the joy of this competition. All you need is an idea and some enthusiasm. We're actively encouraging people who know about housing to enter and we'll network you with a team of data and web experts. All you have to do is turn up with your knowledge and expertise and an open mind.
But do it this week! The deadline for applications is midday, Friday 29 August.
If you want an informal chat about your idea or some help posting it on Collabfinder, just get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo Credit: Mark Moz @ Flickr CC