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UK Experimenter meet-up in London

Summary of our experimenter meet-up at the Future Cities Catapult on the 12th March 2018.

We experienced a shift from more locally centred experiments during the first experimentation phase to a much more global reach in the second phase. In 2016 we had 9 experiments based in London, but now in the second phase of experimentation (2017-18), we have only 4 teams in the UK. This change made it more difficult to interact across teams, allow face-to-face meetings and organise workshops.

For this reason, the London OrganiCity team planned a get-together of the previous and current experimenters in the UK. The aim of the meet-up was a combination of networking and lessons learned for the current experimenters. The meet-up was a very intimate and successful session, which provided the current teams with valuable insights, tips and advice.

 

We realised that we are now using an approach we developed during the OrganiCity experiment. The further away we walk from it, the more we see the value of the lessons we learned from OrganiCity.

Helen from the Spend Network team (first experimentation phase)

 

Lessons Learned

  • Consider the weather in your project plan, it’s difficult to experiment in winter for projects that have to do with being outdoors
  • If you learn new skills such as marketing, expect that this will take a bit longer
  • Accept peoples critics and add the feedback to the experiment
  • Acknowledge the complexity of dealing with the technical constraints of the platform, e.g. how to work with a large allowance of data points
  • It’s easier to talk to people whilst you are part of OrganiCity, so use that network
  • Work out your scope, what can you do and spend the time to work it out
  • If you want to test your concepts/prototypes make use of the people around you / people you know
  • Working with local champions
  • Accepting to fail sometimes

 

Benefits of being a part of OrganiCity

  • OrganiCity platform and teams are as much experimenting and finding out things while they are doing it as the experimenters
  • Through experimenting with the OrganiCity platform, we explored new types of data and new methods of collecting data
  • Privacy was a concern because we were getting data through Facebook (easier, cheaper), a session with our data scientists explained all the ethics and privacy concerns of using facebook
  • The key questions we received when we applied for funding afterwards were about; how we would incentivise participants to continue taking part
  • It was very important to do our Privacy Impact Assessment according to the University standards. This took almost 6 months and we have just got it approved now
  • It’s difficult to sell to a customer when you haven’t tested and failed before. That’s what we came to OrganiCity to do
  • The mentoring makes a big difference, allowing experimenters to get help when they needed – minimising the waiting time and uncertainty

For the London OrganiCity team and everyone involved, the meet-up was a very positive experience. We will integrate our learnings and more of these sharing sessions into future projects. Thank you to the teams who were able to join us.

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