By Fiona Houston
Nesta is a UK based innovation charity that helps individuals and organisations bring great ideas to life - they are also one of the supporters behind Antenna and Sing London’s Talking Statues project. Their recent half-day event in London focused on Digital Social Innovation (DSI) - the collaboration between digital innovation and social innovation. With an increasing number of arts and tourism institutions eager to invite visitors to engage with not only their programming but also their institutional and social identity, the rise of DSI could be an exciting one. The short video shared here is an informal introduction to the concept, highlighting three partnerships;
- Cancer Research UK have created platforms to utilize Citizen Science --the public-- to get involved in real cancer research via mobile applications. One of the applications, Cell Slider, allows users to upload and analyse cells. Citizen Science was able to review the collected information and produce results in three months that would have taken Cancer Research UK up to 18 months to produce without their help.
- OpenCorporates and Open Knowledge collaborated on using open data to create a more transparent world. They took information held by government sources and have made it more transparent to the public. Users can search over 3.8 million companies worldwide and view their financial transactions. Everyone has direct access to seeing who owns these companies and how are they spending government money. The project’s aim is to empower the public and to hold large corporations accountable for public spending.
- Smart Citizen Kit is a project allowing people to collect information about their environments, including noise pollution and air quality. The project uses open source hardware and small sensors placed directly out in the environments gathers the raw data. People who live in circumstances below EU regulations for air quality, for example, can use it to support claims of infringement of their human rights.
It’s really inspiring to see how digital innovation can be used to bring the public closer to a cause, encouraging and facilitating understanding and interaction. Inviting the public to pro-actively engage and become a part of a community in a meaningful way is a great message and could have significant social implications for arts and tourism could be revolutionary.