The Open Data Institute (ODI) – co-founded by the inventor of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and AI expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt – retained The Business Narrative to organise its seventh flagship summit, this year online and with a global audience, asking “how can humanity harness the power of data in a changing world?" For the 2020 edition we reimagined, rather than recreated, the Summit as a digital experience, retaining the DNA of the event; while more than doubling participants over previous events; and substantially expanding the geographical reach in terms of speakers and participants.
The ODI’s core question had nine associated themes|: innovation, policy making, international and regional data, data skills, data institutions, advertising and big tech, health and climate. Working with the ODI team and specialists in design, video production and PR, we curated content that convened a community, inspired conversations and created on-going engagement with the ODI. in ways that move people to create impact.
We built an immersive multi-track programme with 68 speakers, and 20 presentations and panels. In addition, we hosted nine themed roundtable conversations, two workshops, and an expo showcasing sponsors, ODI projects and the Data as Culture artworks. All along, participants had the to chat, network and engage with a global audience, which they did with enthusiasm, making nearly three thousand remarks and comments during the course of the day.
The Summit saw 1,000+ participants from 72 countries convene online for 9 hours of content, presented by Maggie Philbin OBE. Talks included three keynotes from Minister John Whittingdale, UK Information Commissioner Elizabeth Denham and Dr Safiya Noble. Overall, our speakers came from five continents and included Ann Pettifor, Volker Buscher, Reema Patel, Ravi Naik, Hugh Knowles, Edafe Onerhime, Sarah Drinkwater, Amit Patel, Wen Hwa Lee, Tariq Khokhar.
Other highlights included the launch of the ODI’s report Data about chidren’s lives during the pandemic, interactive works from the Data as Culture art programme, and the fantastic pieces authored by the ODI Writer’s Fund – Black History Month 2020 writers. And Datopolis – the open data board game – went virtual, with a session showing the game in action.
Building on the 2019 event, the ODI opened up the inclusivity and accessibility of the event with two complementary place schemes; enhancing its Welcome Programme of funded places for those on lower budgets; and offering free places for delegates from lower and middle income countries. Closed captioning was produced for all the stage sessions.
Our partner agency, Allegory achieved phenomenal press coverage including The Financial Times, The Telegraph, BBC, Computer Weekly.
Working closely with the ODI’s director of communication and wider leadership team, the Business Narrative led the project, managing a team of nearly 40, including the ODI’s in-house communication and marketing team, communications agency Allegory and creative consultants, Philpott Design. We worked with film-maker, Kristin Hadland and her crew to produce pre-recorded studio-based panels and films showcasing aspects of ODI’s work, including the Data as Culture programme. And we ensured that the event met its purpose, shaped the event content, managed the budget, and consulted on marketing and partnership management.
The Business Narrative team delivered all the on-the-day production and technical elements of the event; customising the event platform, managing the execution of all sponsors and other expo booths from the ODI, briefing speakers and managing their platform onboarding and tech rehearsals. We briefed question moderators, trained the wider team on the platform, and supported onboarding delegates with a bespoke video. We built a complex production schedule with four digital studios, across the dozens of videos and pre-records. On the day, we ran both the backstage and front of house operations; our team of stage managers and production professionals managed speakers and ensured professional live-streaming into the event platform, interspersed with videos, lower third captions, running two stages to time. Our front of house team staffed the helpdesk answering queries, managed the chatrooms and roundtable discussions, and supported sponsors, the ODI teams and Data as Culture artists in their booths. We created and delivered directional messaging within the platform to ensure delegates experienced the full event, and responded to any chat queries. Post event, we delivered a detailed dataset and analysis to the ODI team, enabling them to fine-tune their activities for future events.
An absolute privilege to reimagine the ODI’s flagship event and take it to the next digital level together with our partner agencies and the wider ODI team.
Photography ODI / Paul Clarke