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This year has been a year of change – some of which has involved celebration, some of which has involved grieving however all has been defining my future steps.
How About? was originally set up as a response to what I saw around me – a culture which thrives on data and information and offers an advantage to those with the money and the resources.
To begin with, I was frustrated and cynical however I realised I was in a position to do something about it with the experience, the know-how and a slight geeky inclination towards these things.
My first response was to set up a social enterprise and be all things to all people – and our core theme of collecting and using data for good is still a passion – but with time has come focus.
In an effort to distil this – I’ve summed up my thoughts on the key values of How About?
Research for good
My heart has always to be able to help people and in the last few years, make people feel empowered by the information they collect – as after all its often said that ‘knowledge is power’ and I can’t think of anything more empowering then finding out more about the impact of your intervention, finding a need you can meet or even see how well you’re doing and how you can improve to better what you do.
I want to make this world a better and more sustainable place where knowing more about each other can lead to it’s betterment.
Engagement for all
I believe that the key to a robust and representative sample is making sure that the process of data collection is attractive, engaging and relevant to everyone. Data gathering doesn’t have to be over-clinical or academic, but can be a process in which people can feel involved and even have fun. We don’t want people to feel its “take, take, take” but actually feel involved in a vital process which helps shape what you provide whether that be a social intervention or a specific product.
Obviously, there are times when we have to use surveys and interviews, as after all, they are an incredibly useful tool – however we want to make sure even these tools are engaging in their language and their appearance and they are presented by researchers who are polite and engaging themselves – as you never know – you may find out more than you first hoped.
Data for everyone
We live in an information age and we see companies guzzle it like toddlers to sweets (you can tell I’m a parent!) However a lot of this information is out there already – we just need to know how we can find and interpret this data effectively to use for our own cause.
We want to enable folks to do this. We want everyone to use these tools effectively, to ‘level the playing field’ and so the biggest charity to the smallest community group have the same opportunity to acquire and present information to help further what they offer.
I’ve touched upon this with our data collection, but I just want to re-iterate this for the way we present our information whether it is in a report, presentation or video – again importantly to make data accessible and engaging to all, including what we have collected ourselves. Organisations such as Information is Beautiful are inspirational in terms of how data can be presented, and certainly is indicative as to where i’d like to go.
So how are we going to respond?
Over the next few weeks we hope to flesh this out further and explore how this is going to influence our organisation. However, in the meantime here’s a bit of a taster of what’s to come:
- We hope to run low-cost workshops aimed at social enterprises and community groups that cover a range of things including looking at impact, analysis and presentation but incorporating the values above. Cost is only to help us cover venue and refreshments.
- We will be developing a quarterly newsletter with helpful sources of information, tips and tricks as well as case studies of how different organisations have done their research
- We will be doing blogs and vlogs which will include more of my thoughts (on topic… some a little less so) but more importantly include guest contributors.
- We will be looking to develop funded projects and collaborations which are in-line with our values
- We hope to develop our current offering to incorporate our more focused values.
Is there anything you can do?
We believe in a collaborative economy and therefore are always open to work with anyone along the way. This could take the guise of a case study an article in our newsletter or a guest blog / vlog. You could be a storyteller, a graphic designer, a media producer or a marketer – basically anyone who has something to share when it comes to creativity, presenting information visually or otherwise – we would like to hear from you.