The Corsham Institute recently unveiled their thought-leadership report ‘Building a Connected Society’ alongside their new app, supported by RAND, ‘Observatory for a Connected Society‘. We talk to Rachel Neaman, CEO of Corsham Institute, about the app, its potential and public sector innovation.
What is the Observatory for a Connected Society App?
The Observatory for a Connected Society, which we have launched jointly with RAND Europe, is a mobile app and online platform that brings together all the latest research, analysis and expert comment in one place. It will enable policymakers, private and public sector leaders, academics and researchers to access everything they need to know about the most important technology and digital issues. The Observatory comprises five main components:
- Monitor – a regularly updated feed where you will find authoritative, curated news and research.
- Analysis – where RAND Europe and external contributors provide new analysis and insights on the latest evidence, case studies and data.
- Comment – thought-provoking, exclusive articles from high-profile thinkers, sector leaders and subject matter experts. We were delighted to have some great contributors for our launch: techUK President, Jacqueline de Rojas; new London Chief Digital Officer Theo Blackwell (a former Fellow at Public); and Helen Milner, Chief Executive of the Good Things Foundation.
- Highlight – a schedule of the most important upcoming events, conferences, consultations and other activities.
- Library – where we will archive the most interesting reports we’ve shared on the Monitor feed so you can continue to find them in the months to come.
How does the app differ from other Tech or Policy research databases?
It’s much more than just a database! It’s a fantastic platform on which to build an interactive community, drawn from all sectors and parts of society, who have an interest in how digital technologies impact on our world. No other product like this exists for that community. As well as bringing together published reports and news from UK and international sources, the Observatory for a Connected Society also provides exclusive content, such as new insights and analysis from academics who are looking afresh at published evidence or datasets, or the latest, topical commentary from prominent leaders. We are delighted that we will be featuring an article from Daniel Korski very soon.
“…access everything they need to know about the most important technology and digital issues.”
Public sector innovation and tech is a growing market at the moment. How do you hope the Observatory app can contribute to this growth?
So much of the future potential and opportunities in our connected society will be driven by the transformation of public services, whether that’s innovative healthcare delivery or new digital means to connect government services and organisations with the citizens that they serve. The Observatory for a Connected Society will capture and share the most up-to-date insight and research on the trends, developments and evidence of what works in public sector innovation – not just from the UK but also from around the world, as it will on every other topic relating to tech and society. This means that leaders, influencers, academics and entrepreneurs working in different fields can access it in one place, draw out their own insights and connect their thinking with others.
What was the process of developing the Observatory app?
It has grown out of our long-term collaboration with RAND Europe, with whom we have delivered our Thought Leadership programme over the past two years. Both of our organisations know the value of building connected communities and partnerships to deliver our objectives, and it is the combination of our interests across the academic and not-for-profit sectors that make this such a powerful and relevant product at this time. We were delighted that Disciple Media, who have a track record in building interactive apps for specific communities, could help us realise this vision. I am immensely proud at the speed at which all three organisations have worked in just two months to design, develop and test the app, and to commission such wonderful launch content. The app will continue to develop, as new functionality is added and we respond to the feedback from our users.
This is the first iteration of the Observatory App. What are you hoping to develop in the coming months and years?
We will continue to upgrade the functionality of the app and we are also going to explore how we can work with our users to build the community engagement aspects of the app too. We are clear that this is just the start of a journey for the Observatory for a Connected Society and we are keen to hear feedback from our early users and understand what more they would want to see.
To find out more about the Corsham Institute, visit the Corsham Institute’s website.
To download the Observatory for a Connected Society App, follow this link.