Digital Innovation during a Pandemic – Supporting Welsh Businesses

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The covid-19 pandemic has been devastating in many ways and has prompted the need for us, and others, to deliver digital public services at pace and based around user needs.  An example is the work of the Business Wales Digital team, who provide support to businesses across Wales in relation to financial support, training, marketing and much more.  In this blog, Rhys Morris, Operational Delivery Manager in Business Wales, explains how he and his team used agile and fast delivery approaches to put in place much needed support for Welsh businesses.

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Reflections from a new digital leader

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This week it’s Digital Leaders Week which felt like a good time to write my first blog as Chief Digital Officer in Welsh Government since I started in July (not quite the famous “100 first days” that politicians refer to but not far away). It’s been a whirlwind few months learning what is going on across the organisation and outside, and at the same time trying to take forward some key pieces of work which we think are important in terms of responding to the pandemic and getting ourselves ready for the future. As with many other work places we have of course primarily been working from home since March. This of course has huge benefits which have been well described over the past few months, but it does present a very different experience in starting a new job and not being able to have face to face contact with my new teams!

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Unlocking the value of our information with data science

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What is data science? I don’t think there is an agreed answer to exactly what it is – but using it we can provide knowledge and insights into almost any information. Many public sector organisations have been developing their data science capability and back in April the data science unit in the Welsh Government was established. This blog gives an introduction to the unit.

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Guest Blog: Using Geospatial data to underpin research and policy decision making in Wales

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Dr Richard Fry is a Senior Lecturer in Geography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at Swansea University Medical School. Here he explains the role that geospatial data and geographical mapping are playing in producing research to inform policy in Wales.

swansea_singelton_campusWales is a geographically and socially diverse country meaning that where we live and work plays a huge part in our health and wellbeing. With the impact on health and wellbeing at the forefront of all policy decisions in Wales, it is clear that as a nation we need to understand more about how, and why our geography affects us in Wales.

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Guest Blog: Introducing Unlocking the power of location: the UK’s Geospatial Strategy

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The Geospatial Commission is an expert committee that sets the UK’s geospatial strategy and promotes the best use of geospatial data.  In this guest blog the Geospatial Commission introduce their National Geospatial Strategy.

This blog is part of a blog-exchange with the Welsh Government.

geospatial imageLocation is a defining element of the way we live, work and socialise. It can impact the services and spaces we have access to, the language and accent we speak in, even the quality of our wifi connection. Understanding the world in terms of location, using location-based data, is crucial to the functioning of modern society. This is most strikingly demonstrated today by the role location data continues to play in the response and recovery to the coronavirus pandemic. Has the question of ‘where?’ ever been more relevant?

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A beginners understanding of what user research is

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Throughout school I always enjoyed taking part in making and designing new things for others (my favourite lesson being Textiles). I’m not implying that creating a dress is the same as implementing a policy, but they have very similar needs. These include, a (hopefully) happy user, an end product and that feeling of success! It turns out that by finding out what people wanted, and adapting to their needs I was actually carrying something called user research.

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From A Level to Apprenticeship

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Picture of Tia, Digital Data and Technology Apprentice

Planning my future looked as though it was going to be the biggest decision I would ever make in my life, so I tried avoiding it. Whilst coming to the end of my A-levels this year, not knowing what my favourite subject was, or whether I wanted to go to university, I was completely clueless. However, after speaking to those with experience it landed me in this amazing opportunity that provides so many choices. Continue reading

Apprenticeships – too good to be true?

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Picture of Dom, Digital Data and Technology ApprenticeBefore joining Welsh Government I completed my degree in History at the University of Reading. After graduating I wasn’t sure about what path to take regarding a career, as until then I’d only worked part-time jobs while at school. Over Christmas I started working in retail as a customer assistant, and began building my experience and skills. After 3 years and undertaking a variety of roles I decided that I did not see a long-term career in retail management and began searching for a different career path aligned with my interests. Initially I was debating going back to university to continue my education; however I was disappointed with the potential prospects offered by a Masters in History. I fired off applications for all sorts of jobs, from the National Crime Agency to air traffic control – just to try something different. Continue reading