Currently I’m working four days a week as CTO at Energy Sparks and then using my remaining time to do some freelance work.
While I’m really enjoying my work at Energy Sparks and now have a small technical team, I also thrive on having a mixture of other work and responsibilities, so have been keeping my freelancing going over the last couple of years.
I thought I’d summarise what I’ve been up to recently and what I’m hoping to do in the future.
I covered some of my 2021 freelancing in my reflection on the year. But to recap and expand on what I wrote there:
- worked with the Risk Data Library team at the World Bank to help them think through their approach to standardising the publication and exchange of risk data, giving advice and support on process, documentation, and how to build on existing standards
- completed a short project with a team at Foundry4 and FutureGov, to review how one of their public sector clients was approaching its product development
- joined an evaluation team that is carrying out a long term review of a data institution, on behalf of their funder. I’ve been looking at the aspects that relate to collecting, managing and publishing open data, their data infrastructure, as well as their role as a data institution
- worked with the Full Fact team to explore how they can best use and build on Schema.org in order to enrich their fact checking data
- worked with Oxford Insights to provide some expert advice on standards and standardisation for its report on AI R&D Commercialisation and role of technical standards
- was lead author on this report produced by Oxford Insights, for the Open Data Institute looking at the role of regulators, industry and professional bodies in data assurance. As part of this I helped scope the research questions, carried out some desk research and helped synthesise the findings
As is the nature of reports, some of the above work didn’t end up being published until this year.
The other work I’ve done this year includes:
- acting as an expert reviewer for a philanthropic funder, to help review proposals for data-centric projects to help identify risks and areas for support and improvement
- continued work as part of the evaluation team I mentioned above. This has included helping to scope some user research as well as carrying out an assessment of current approach to data publishing and stewardship by the data institution
- working with CABI to develop a framework to describe different models of data sharing, management and governance. The approach I took focused on describing different patterns for data sharing to highlight common approaches that cut through all of the confusing jargon around data platforms and institutions to focus on how data is being exchanged
- another short piece of work with Full Fact, this time looking at the data ecosystem around the Electoral Commission register of party spending and donations
I don’t know how much of the will end up seeing the light of day, but I’m hoping at least some of it will surface at some point.
I’ve been enjoying the evaluation and review work. I think the breadth of my experience means I can bring a useful perspective, and it can be a direct way to have some practical impact on projects.
I’m also enjoying how these projects often let me apply my previous work and research to deliver useful insights. For example by applying various tools to help evaluate and assess data infrastructure.
The CABI work also gave me the opportunity to synthesise a lot of the reading and research I’ve done around data infrastructure, ecosystems and institutions.
It’s also been nice to be able to take on solo projects, and take a deep dive into some areas, whilst also supporting a team.
I’d like to do more of all of that in the future.
If you’re looking for some help on an upcoming project then I’ve got availability from beginning of next year.