A year of work in progress – day 161

Day 161 – 25 September 2014

I decided to come back to work a couple of days earlier than planned, not because I had a bad holiday, far from it but rather to save a couple of days for later. Without these I would have had no break until Christmas (a first world problem).

Two unexpected days at work with no planned meetings felt a bit like cheating but it was a great opportunity to catch up on some things that I just could not find the time to get into: the responses to the big data soft market test and; the new ICT strategy. I purposely didn’t try and catch up with my email. That will wait until next week although it wasn’t that bad either in terms of numbers or content.

I started with the Big Data. Pam had written to the respondents to say that I may be some time in getting back to them. I’d expect a small number of submissions but ended up with nineteen. The problem I was faced with was how to differentiate between the proposals. I started, as I always do, by making a list of, who they were, what kind of organisation, what was good about their response and what was less so.

Big Data means different things to different people and there were some interesting approaches and experiences to draw upon. I had responses from a wide range of organisations including solutions providers, integrators, mobile operators and content providers, as well as some unexpected ones from academia and market research.

I managed to cut the list down to ten by rejecting (a harsh word I know)those that focussed on the technology rather than the opportunity (that is for another day), those who saw this as a project rather than a proof of concept and those who asked what problem we were trying to solve. What I am after is an exploration of the stories we have trapped in our data rather than the answer to some questions we have thought of. Limiting an exploration to only those areas we want answers to will limit our potential horizons. I want to explore just for the pleasure of discovery at this stage. Only later can we turn these voyages into deliverables. It’s a shame that I didn’t have time to look at them all. Pam is arranging the meetings.

By mid-morning most people knew that I was back and it became impossible for me to avoid some meetings that were planned for tomorrow so it looks like I will be at County Hall. I could get the train in to avoid the traffic through the team valley.

Learning points for today: There is going to be another series of George Gently; forwarding spam makes the spam filters think you are the problem; some people see my email as spam anyway; beetroot and cottage cheese sandwiches are fantastic as long as you don’t spill the contents on your shirt and; every decision is a disappointment for someone.

Today’s enjoyment rating 7/10 – nothing earth shattering but nice to push Big Data forward.

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