Ending the Interview Stage of the JRF project
As we are rounding up the stakeholder mapping stage of the project, I have had the time to reflect upon the vast ecosystem of people involved in poverty alleviation and addressing social inequality; but I have also been able to hear and understand what the key issues are, in regard to information and insights. Additionally, as the project developed and I had a greater understanding of what we were looking for, I felt I had greater direction during the latter interviews which allowed me to generate more detailed insight.
One thing that really stood out from me, is that whilst I interviewed vastly different organisations who had different missions and aims, there did seem to be some key, unifying issues that they all had. As such there is a space and a need for some kind of solution, which the Joseph Rowntree Foundation as a larger organisation can adequately occupy. Whilst it may not be the original form of insight infrastructure that we had initially imagined, there seems to be a need for something to fill in that gap.
In the Dream workshop we hosted a few weeks ago, different organisations came together to discuss what this ‘insight infrastructure’ could consist of and in the process of discussing with various organisations, there was a wide variety of ideas for said infrastructure. Some participants recommended a more network-based infrastructure, which would facilitate communication between organisations working in the same sector for the purposes of learning and working alongside each other. Others suggested that the role of the insight infrastructure could be to develop an industry-standard for data, so that data quality is improved across the board and there can be comparability across different datasets. Whilst these suggestions differ quite widely, they also highlight the need for some kind of collaborative product that can fill that need. This is encouraging to hear as it suggests that the implementation of this insight infrastructure can make a real difference and really help those working in areas related to poverty and social inequality.
This process also highlighted to me how important it is to take a holistic approach to solving poverty, and understanding how different social issues intersect with poverty. The lack of intersectional data, whether that is data showing how racial inequalities impact issues of sustainability or data showing the impact of wider policy changes on the level of homelessness, has sometimes limited approaches to solving poverty as there can be a lack of understanding of the wider picture.