What’s your idea for the Food Open Data Challenge? Don’t have one yet? Here’s some help...
Have you been contemplating the Food Open Data Challenge and wondering whether to apply? Perhaps you:
are now considering entering the Food Open Data Challenge and need some tips on how to come up with a brilliant idea before the deadline on the 27th October - read on!
The challenge is ‘How can we use open data to help people eat more healthily, eat more sustainably and/or have a more secure food chain?’ Entering gives you the chance to win a £40,000 prize. The challenge question is really broad and you're not expected to attempt to tackle it all. We are really looking for specific, deliverable products or services which will create social value in the UK.
In my experience having great ideas requires some playfulness, some rules and some stimulus. It may be more fun with a partner or a team to bounce your thinking off, you might be able to recruit from these networks: Food Tech Wednesday Meetup or Collabfinder.
Getting into the data
It’s essential to use at least one Open Government Dataset. While you don’t need to limit yourself to those listed in the Food Dataguide, it’s a quick way to familiarise yourself with 48 food specific datasets.
Here are some questions which can help you get into the data:
Does the data have a particular focus? - health, sustainability, security?
Play with the data, what are its strengths? Is there a co-efficient which can be calculated? What data would it be interesting to combine with?
Rate 1-5 how much you ‘like’ the dataset. This can be your gut feeling, or devise your own more technical criteria for rating.
For your favourites pick out three insights from the User Research which could relate to the dataset
Getting into the challenge
Chances are, from the moment you read the challenge question you were coming up with ideas. Some amazing, some half-baked, some awful (although we’d never say that in an ideas session, there’s no place for negativity in an ideas session!). Take some time to narrow your focus. Coming up with a more unique challenge question will lead to you having more unique ideas. There is a stimulating User Research report which focuses on the Challenge Question which can help you. The Hackpad also has a list of interesting reports and articles on the current food system. Your own experience is really valuable too, remember to capture it as case studies, quotes or statistics so you can share them with your ideas group and use them as evidence for your idea.
Planning an ideas session
Start with a clear brief and don’t start having ideas until you have it nailed down.
Choose a time and space which is conducive to thinking creatively.
Be ready to look after the energy of yourself or the group - food, breaks, new stimulus and games.
Rules for having ideas
There are no bad ideas. If it seems bad help it grow, build on it and help it to work.
One at a time: finish capturing an idea before you start a new one.
Support: all the voices in the room or in your head and meet suggestions with enthusiasm.
Grow: your ideas before you cut them down. It’s hard to be creative and critical at the same time, whether you are on your own or with a group say ‘Yes, and…” until your idea feels complete.
Clarify: ideas by asking ‘how?’
Stimulus for having ideas
Random - have a set of random words or images at hand. This is the quickest way to refresh people’s thinking, if you all start glazing over at your own ideas or the ideas seem to have dried up, whip them out and watch the ideas start to flow again.
Build - Add to something which is already happening - The Hackpad, current food initiatives.
Trend - Push your idea to an extreme by looking at futuristic ideas of food - what’s likely to happen next?
Steal - Look around at other sectors - look at products and services in other sectors which you can steal ideas from and apply to food.
If you find your group being less than playful in their approach, play a game. Even the simplest games like musical chairs, chinese whispers, scissor paper stone will shift your thinking and generate a new mood to approach the challenge.
REMEMBER all ideas must use at least one UK Government Open Dataset. Here are some resources and pointers which will help you:
Finding a Dataset to support your idea
You look at the food dataguide and:
there is a dataset that fits your idea like a dream.
there is no obvious dataset for your idea. Have a go at finding a link, forcing a link may make you think differently about your idea. You may even find that through this process you improve your idea. Here’s how to do it:
Take a random dataset and force a link from your idea to the data. One way to get a link is to write a list of things relating to the dataset,
Before developing your idea too far check through the judging criteria.
Submit your idea on Collabfinder by creating your profile and a project page by midday 27 October.