The Open Data Institute (ODI) – co-founded in 2012 by AI expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt and the inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee – asked us to produce its virtual conference Exploring Data Institutions.
This timely one-day virtual conference event, exploring organisations whose purpose involves stewarding data on behalf of others, often towards public, educational or charitable aims attracted 1,200+ participants, with 5 hours of content in two content blocks, 25 speakers from four continents, main stage, virtual “explore” booths showcasing ODI programmes, themed roundtables, 1:1 networking, and range of engaging art and game immersive activities.
Moderated by the BBC’s Zoe Kleinman, speakers included Nigel Shadbolt, Open Data Institute, Hilary Fanning, INSIGHT Health Data Research Hub, Wen Hwa Lee, Action Against Age Related Macular Degeneration, Rob Bryan, BPE, Thom Townsend, OpenOwnership, Dr Rishi Caleyachetty, UK Biobank, Matt Prewitt, RadicalxChange Foundation, Astha Kapoor, Aapti Institute, Sonia Cooper, Microsoft, Sylvie Delacroix, Birmingham Law School, Aline Blankertz, Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, Caroline Gorski, Rolls Royce, Tom Denwood, NHS Digital, Carly Kind, Ada Lovelace Institute, and Jeni Tennison, Open Data Institute as well as many ODI experts.
Highlights included a live online game of Datapolis, the strategy board game about open data, with live commentary to add to the excitement and live consultations with DoxBox trustbot, part of the ODI’s Data As Culture programme, a live art installation helping us consider trustworthiness of those we share data with, and how many data versions of ourselves we create online. The event chat added another, reflective layer of content, ideas and collaborations to the broadcast and roundtable content, and we had numerous requests to review it from participants.
The Business Narrative team led the project, working closely with the ODI’s team. Sourcing a virtual event platform, we designed the virtual event to meet its purpose, supported content creation, managed the budget, and consulted on marketing and partnership management. We led on all aspects of event management including platform selection and management, virtual event setup including platform customisations, livestreaming, risk register for technical challenges, digital studio stage management for speakers, speaker tech checks and rehearsals, live vision-mixing and lower thirds, closed-captioning, creation of interstitials and stings, managing co-located pre-records, production scheduling for livestreaming team, sponsor management and virtual booth setup and script writing for moderators.
On the day, we managed the event both “backstage” in our digital studio, ensuring speakers had a good, engaged experience to maximise the quality of their presentations, dealt gracefully with inevitable tech hitches and “front of house” with an online-onsite team managing the Virtual Helpdesk, staffing the inbox for login queries, managing the comms and messaging on the day, overseeing roundtables, moderated sessions, sponsor booths and ensuring the event went smoothly. Design agency, Philpott Design, created bold, bright branding and our partner agency Thwaites Communications secured secured extensive press coverage, including an op-ed from Sir Nigel Shadbolt in Computer Weekly.
With phenomenal feedback from participants, it’s a privilege to work with a great client team and convene events that have a genuine impact.