We are thrilled to announce that today, during Big Data Week, we are excitedly launching our first official chapter, DataKind UK!
We were so inspired and amazed by all of you who wrote to us from around the globe wanting to use data in the service of humanity that we knew we had to find a way to empower more people far and wide. DataKind UK is our answer to your calls and our next big step in enabling a truly global data-driven sector. DataKind UK will be spearheading our operations overseas, connecting data scientists with mission-driven organizations to tackle the world's biggest problems with data, driving the conversation around the responsible use of data, and acting as a thought leader in data policy and data culture. Headed up by a simply unbeatable set of Directors - Duncan Ross (Teradata), Fran Bennett (Mastodon C), Stewart Townsend (Big Data Week), and Kaitlin Thaney (Digital Science, Strata London) - DataKind UK is poised to transform the third sector in the UK and we can't wait to do great things together.
// Why the UK?
In the lead up to Strata London last fall, we held a DataDive in London. Despite claims that the UK had a nascent data scene, over 70 data scientists came out to spend 48 hours working with Place2Be, Oxfam, and Keyfund to tackle their toughest problems with data. Needless to say, we were impressed. Since then, we've watched the data community in the UK continue to thrive - Tech City is hailed as the overseas Silicon Alley, Meetups like Data Science London and Londata draw healthy crowds of enthusiastic data scientists, and the UK government is deeply invested in using data to drive innovation. In addition, our Directors in the UK are some of the best and brightest DataKind-ers we know, many of whom have been supporting us from our Data Without Borders days all those years ago. All of the enthusiasm in the tech and charity sectors in the UK as well as the opportunity to bring our model to a new culture with new data laws made the UK an ideal place to build DataKind out together.
// How do you guys work together?
DataKind UK is its own independently-run organization in the UK that upholds DataKind's vision of using data in the service of humanity. We communicate closely about the best ways to shape our activities, we share learnings with each other, and our own Jake Porway acts as a Director so we can coordinate about how to best move forward together in bringing about a data-driven social sector.
// When will DataKind be in my city?
As we're still a fresh-faced young non-profit, we're starting our chapters very deliberately. Our challenge is to make sure we can empower enthusiastic data do-gooders while still balancing our ability to do high quality work that makes a serious impact. To that end, we're going to learn what works best with our friends in the UK so we can decide how to next build out more chapters. In the meantime though, we're working 'round the clock to find more ways to get everyone contributing to the cause, from forming local Meetups to holding more DataDives to open sourcing what we do to the community. We're still in the early stages as we make sure everything we do is tip-top first, but keep an eye out. The answer is, hopefully soon :)
We hope you'll join us in celebrating this wonderful event by heading over to DataKind UK to learn more or by following their efforts on Twitter at @DataKindUK. Or heck, if you're not in the UK, just hack on some data in our honor. Either way, we welcome our DataKind family across the pond and hope you'll join us there!