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Spring Forward into Open Technology, CEO’s Round Up

Amanda Brock
4th March 2020

Looking at the snow in London in the last couple of days, it’s hard to imagine that Spring is around the corner. But as I issue my February round-up of all things OpenUK, the date when the “Spring Forward” clocks change is rapidly approaching. It’s a time when we not only enjoy an hour’s extra daylight, but also gain a great deal of visibility for the work going on at OpenUK.

A busy start to the year has continued with diverse activities related to Open Technology, Open Source software, Open Source hardware and Open Data.

Our organisation promotes the UK’s development of Leadership in Open Technology by creating a voice for the combined Open Communities across the UK. We strive to make the UK a great place for Open Technology, through the work of our various Committees and by promoting education in Open Technology to create relevant skills across the UK. Here’s a snapshot of some of the things which have been going on:

  • A subset of the Legal and Policy Group met with representatives of the UK Government who are negotiating the new post-Brexit Trade Agreements to help ensure that the agreements work with Open Technology.
  • Under the stewardship of Chris Eastham, the Legal and Policy Group has set up a Future Leaders Group. This will involve the upskilling of those identifying as interested in building their knowledge through an initial review of Government procurement terms and processes, writing of articles and undertaking conference speaking with a fair amount of teaching and coaching thrown in.
  • The UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, taking place in Glasgow in September 2020 has not escaped the attention of Board members John Laban and Laura James. They are working with new Workstream Chair Andy Hastings on a COP26 proposal for this event under the auspices of Legal and Policy.

And here’s some of what you can expect in the next few weeks:

Launch of our Open Data Workstream with the support of Arup and our colleagues at the Open Data Institute (ODI). We will host an event at Arup’s offices on 17 March from 4pm-8pm, with two panels. I will moderate the first of these panels, looking at the ethical use of data in commercial models and Jenni Tennison, CEO at the ODI will moderate the second, around opening historically closed data. We have a number of great speakers and there will be plenty of time for audience discussion. You can register for this event here:

  • A month later, we’re running a workshop on 14 April. More details to follow but the workshop output will be released as part of OpenUK Week in June.
  • OpenUK Week preparations are already underway and we will be hosting Open Technology events daily from 8-12 June. Look out for the release of our full program in March. The week will, of course, include the First Edition of the OpenUK Awards and finals of our Kids’ Competiiton.
  • OpenUK Awards—nominations are opening today, across five categories:
    • Kids Competition
    • Young Person
    • Individual
    • Open Data
    • Open Source hardware
    • Open Source software

The Awards will be hosted in the Unilever building Auditorium on 11 June, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the technology law firm, Bristows. We have an amazing committee in place to organise the event led by Jonathan Riddell, David Jobling, Ritwik Sarwar, Dominique Top and Andy Bennett.

Three Independent Judges, Cheryl ng, Chris Lamb and Jeni Tennison will select a shortlist of up to three nominees for each category and winners will be announced on 11 June at the ceremony. There will be a limited number of tickets for sale, so look out for these shortly.

  • OpenUK Kids’ Competition is being run as part of the Awards teams of four children at Key Stage 3 or equivalent, may register to participate for the Kids’ Competition at Five regional winners will be brought to London on 10 and 11 June, to compete in a final at Red Hat’s Innovation Labs on 11 June.

We are incredibly grateful for the support of Red Hat and Github at the OpenUK Awards. We are also honoured that the Grammy Award-winning singer and creator of the MI-MU gloves (who inspired the MiniMU gloves that are being offered in our competition), will be joining us for the Finals day.

Exciting times ahead so watch for more information to follow next month.  We’ll also be covering the topic of education and skills as we develop the UK’s Leadership of Open Technology.

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