Back in April Podnosh worked with the The New Optimists and Professor Chris Elliott to pull together how a city like Birmingham would respond to food crime – the horsemeat scandal . I work was part of a prcoess to make the Elliott Review as concrete as possible. People from all levels of the food chain in Birmingham were bought together to share their experiences with Professor Chris Elliott – their thoughts and experience were shared by our social reporters on the New Optimists website.
Today both the full Elliott review and a shorter report into Birmingham’s contribution, as a result of that event have been published – you can read both here:
How do scientists let us know what they’re up to? More importantly, perhaps how do they help us understand what they’re doing? The communication of science is crucial… and next week Podnosh will be working with science communicators from all over Europe to explore how social media can play a role in their work.
Last night I was working on the first of a series of conversations about how Birmingham will feed itself way into the future. The New Optimists Forum is organised by Kate Cooper who has the very powerful idea of getting groups of scientists from different disciplines and policy makers to think about this thorny problem. She argues, I think rightly, that getting practical about problems and places helps us understand best what we need to change now.
One of the scientists was Ian Nabney who talked about the opportunities that will come to make better decisions about complex problems when we have more data and more power to crunch and use that data. Here’s what he said.
It made me ask the question what if we created a new form of planning gain: supermarkets share their data with us rather than build a new badminton court.
Could knowing what they know about our eating habits help us lead healthier and better lives?
And it also tickled a local MP’s curisosity. Richard Burden (who’s Northfield constituency may have a few urban “food deserts”, another idea kicked around at last night’s forum) tweeted this question about half an hour ago:
So here are some questions:
Is asking supermarkets to share their data a good form of planning gain?
If so in what form would we want it – opendata, depersonalised or maybe full data to be share just with civil servants
What would be the arguments against (so we can anticipate) or just how naive is this! ?
How would Kate Cooper of the New Optimists go about talking to sainsbury’s about this?
Would you rather have a new pavilion at the local park?
Odd what comes out of combining real world conversations with online stuff!
Looks like Adrian Short was thinking about supermarket card data as a public good back in April – scroll to the bottom of this post.
She had, she told me, persuaded 80 or so scientists from the West Midlands to write a few hundred words in response to the question “what makes you optimistic?” Jenny Uglow (the historian who wrote the brilliant story of the Lunar Society: The Lunar Men) had agreed to write the foreword.