Jeni Tennison

Jeni Tennison

Jeni Tennison

It’s been a good second week with some interesting discussions and brewing partnerships. I’m pleased also to have made our strategic roadmap for 2022-2023 public.

Bennett Institute Brown Bag Lunch

As one of their affiliated researchers, on Tuesday I spoke at a brown bag lunch run by the Bennett Institute for Public Policy, sharing my thoughts on collective data governance.

The slides (with notes) are public if you want to take a look, and I wrote up the discussion, which focused on three areas:

  • How to make participatory approaches effective
  • How to get to the future we want to see from where we are now
  • What other sectors or historical shifts to learn from

It was great to hear other people’s thoughts on these topics, particularly as many of them came from just outside the data governance community for whom this is probably more familiar. I was particularly grateful for some pointers to related sectors to look at for analogies.

Meetings, meetings, meetings

I had what was probably my busiest meeting day since the beginning of the year on Thursday, with seven meetings crammed into the day. Among other conversations this week, I’ve chatted to:

and (yay!) people who are interested in the Advocacy and campaign director role.

Organisation stuff

Talking of jobs, I also started advertising for a full time researcher to join the team this week. I’m excited about having some people to work with on this stuff. Hopefully.

One of the benefits of starting a new organisation is having a clean slate and starting habits that I want us to maintain, particularly around knowledge management. For example:

  • I am using Shared Drives in Google Workspace, even though there’s only me at the moment.
  • I am setting up a hierarchy of labels for my email, and taking mail out of my Inbox when I’ve dealt with it.
  • I am using Workona which I love for tab and resource management, and I’m starting to use for tasks. (I don’t quite trust it for notes, though; I prefer to use Google Docs for that.)
  • I have added pages for resources and events to the website, so there’s a regular place to put papers and other documents we write, and write-ups of the events we go to. I’m planning to add pages for projects and partners as we start getting those, as well.
  • I’m doing these weeknotes, and this is a habit I intend to adopt more widely across the organisation, having seen how effective it can be through my work with Public Digital.

The thing I’m uncertain about at the moment is management of other information. There are two examples I’ve hit so far:

  1. Turning the strategic roadmap into something interactive that can be understood, particularly as a timeline, from a high level but also broken down and interrogated. I’m pretty sure good project management software would allow me to do this, but I’ve yet to find something that doesn’t feel too unwieldy.
  2. Putting together a list of researchers and thinkers in and around collective data governance. I started using Trello for this but switched to using Airtable, which I think is the right choice and will probably be a good tool for a number of things we’re going to need to do.

Recommendations welcome on both of these, and any other top tips for knowledge management in small organisations.

Things that are on my mind…

  • Legitimacy feels like a major challenge when you have customer representatives on ethics boards or adopting the results of a citizen’s jury. It’s the question of whether representatives are truly representative: whether they can speak for us. And assessments of legitimacy will be made both by those being represented and by those needing to believe what those representatives say. I’m starting to dig into the literature on this.
  • I’ve also been starting to look at the history of food safety regulation, and found this great site that covers the history of food law. I’m going to be boning up on this in preparation for the Bennett Institute panel “Lessons from history for governing the digital future” on 5th April, as I think there are some parallels for data governance to draw out.

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