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Visualising DSI: Support us to support you!

25th February 2017

Over the past few months, we’ve been mapping the field of digital social innovation across Europe through this platform. Since launching in October, hundreds of new organisations and projects have signed up – and we’re thrilled to have you on board!

And last week we started the next exciting phase in the DSI4EU, as we kicked off our work visualising the treasure trove of data we’ve gathered over the course of the project. We’re proud to be working with TODO, a design agency in Turin, Italy, who have worked on major projects in the past with fantastic organisations like Mozilla and Arduino. Like us, TODO hold the values of openness and transparency close to their heart and believe in the power of digital technologies to deliver social impact.

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Over one and a half days at in Turin, a group of us from DSI4EU and TODO put our heads together for a design sprint to get to grips with how we can make the best data visualisation possible. We know that some users familiar with the DSI project back in 2012-14 miss the visualisation – so don’t worry, it will be back before long, bigger and better than before!

We started by outlining who our audience is – and it’s you, the practitioners. We then talked about what we’ve heard you need from it – the ability to easily understand the projects and organisations working in the same field as you, using the same technologies as you, based in the same countries and cities as you. When our visualisation is complete, you’ll be able to easily identify and show others your work, your networks and your membership of the DSI community.

At the same time, we want researchers, policymakers and the general public to be able to understand what DSI is and what it looks like across Europe. Where is most active? Where does activity need to be supported? How can citizens get involved?

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We’re determined to make sure practitioners, researchers, policymakers and the public can get what they need from the data visualisation, so we’re developing three views – a geographical map view showing organisations and their related projects, a network view to show how different entities are linked, and a cluster view to show how DSI activity varies across fields and technologies.

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After putting together a broad-brush user journey, we spent the second day working individually to come up with our ideas for what the ideal visualisation would look like - a new experience for me, and one which opened my eyes to the complex world of user experience.

After spending time putting the best ideas we’d had into a coherent user journey, our workshop was done. We’ll be working with TODO for at least five weeks, using an agile development approach to make sure we consistently prototype and improve the data visualisation.

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And that’s where you come in!

We want the data visualisation to be as useful for all audiences as possible – so here’s a few things we’d love you to do:

  • Make sure your project and organisation profiles are up to date! The more and better data we have, the more precise we can be in our prototyping. In turn, you’ll be able to get a really accurate picture of how you fit into the European DSI community.
  • Encourage others to sign up! We’re sure you’re keen to also have your partners and contacts visualised, so please do encourage them to sign up.
  • Fill out our website survey! It’s two questions and takes 30 seconds.
  • Let us know what you want from the visualisation! What’s important to you? What do you really want to know? Email us at dsi@nesta.org.uk to let us know.
  • Want to get involved in user testing? Over the coming weeks we’ll be prototyping and testing. If you have some time to spare for user testing, email us at dsi@nesta.org.uk.

We hope to hear from you soon!

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