Don’t be scared, it’s time to make friends with data

Data has turned into a scary word. We think about our own information being misused, sold or used for ulterior motives. It doesn’t have to be that way. Explore how people are making friends with data, leading to positive outcomes.

It has been a challenging year, that is undeniable. However, beautiful things have sprouted and grown during this time. And there are many people and organisations out there that have taken on a whole new sense of purpose. 

At AKOU we have been privileged enough to witness so many amazing ideas bubbling up to the surface. Projects that have been operating in the background for some time suddenly taking centre stage because of their response to Covid. There are many organisations and social enterprises finally being recognised on a whole new level for the great work and impact that they achieve. New initiatives are lighting up in the darkness and bursting onto the scene like a flare.  

Some great projects we recommend to keep your eye on are: 

In 2020 AKOU has made time to check in with these enterprises. We’ve hosted sessions and proactive meetings to find out how we might support their work. Each one brings us a great deal of hope and an energised perspective on what can be achieved. They are doing great things, even under the most challenging circumstances. And we want to do what we can to help them do more. 

What unites AKOU and these different enterprises is not just a shared desire to disrupt and innovate that which we see as broken in our society right now. We greatly admire these enterprises for all the work they do supporting local communities across the country and beyond. Be it providing care, art as education, creative therapy or better access to opportunities.

There is one strong and significant link that sits beneath our shared visions and values, and that is data storytelling. 

Improving collaboration with data

The teams behind each of these initiatives have been taking stock of the impact that they are having. They want to be smart about what data they capture. At a time such as this, good documentation and evidence are helpful tools to push work and accessibility further. And it’s beneficial for a number of reasons. For research purposes, learning, encouragement, motivation and for proof of impact. 

The uncertainties that will follow all of us into next year make up a long and unnerving list. From job security, financial security, business survival, mental health, child welfare, frontline workers and their stretched capacity. There is a great deal to feel concerned about. At times like this we need helpful knowledge, compassionate understanding and powerful empathy. To help us cut through any opposing tensions that cause divides and segregation. When we are all on the edge and feeling fearful this is when division can slip effortlessly into place.  

We are all connected, there is no escaping that. We all hold a responsibility to keep reinforcing that message and maximise our connectivity. From top level through to grassroots, from work teams to families and loved ones. We all need to listen and learn how to move forward and work together better.

We need to work on our CO👏OR👏DI👏NATION👏, so that innovation can unite diverse groups and inspire collective action.

Improving health with social wealth

AKOU is teaming up with projects like those on our One’s to Watch list to visualise and map the social value and connectivity their work creates. The research we have done this year confidently points to the fact that true social value lies within our relationships. The kinds of relationships that have the power to instigate change and support resilience, are grown through enterprises and initiatives that put their connection to their participants above everything else. 

We will be kicking off 2021 with hopeful momentum as we team up with the likes of The NewBridge Project, Hologram, Lambeth Council and MUF Architects. Whilst continuing to build upon our collaborative relationships with Human Capital and BlackThrive (watch this space). Uniting with a clear mission, to collect and visualise social data in order to document, evidence and prove the strength that lies within our relationships. Good and diverse connectivity means powerful flows of sharing, learning and growing.

Technology has offered us the means of becoming more connected than ever. Social media is often where people turn to to find help, inspiration and allies for collective action. However, we feel there is still a lot to learn about real life networks of collaboration. More to investigate around support and trust that still remains largely invisible. 

Looking to the year ahead with elation for information

Next year we’ll be working with socially focused organisations and enterprises to capture the impact and magic of their work. Hopefully in ways that they have not even seen yet. Look out 2021, the invisible is set to become visible.

We want to help organisations that make a difference to document and evidence their work in new ways to encourage learning and sustaining motivation. When our nation and so many individuals are facing unprecedented stresses around their financial insecurity, this is when social enterprise and creative work can demonstrate the beneficial results of increasing social value within communities. AKOU looks forward to 2021 and pushing our work forward with a hope that if we can collectively increase social wealth, we may uncover a new remedy to help soothe ill financial health.