We began a trial a year or so ago. We wanted to create a mechanism whereby Dublin was able to experiment in order to test ideas that it felt might improve the City.
We weren’t quite sure what it was that we were trying to do (there’s still a ton of aspects that we still aren’t at all sure of). That’s fine. It was ‘good enough’ and is still ‘good enough’. Every day though, we aim to make it slightly better.
We don’t even know what it is yet. We don’t know what it is. We don’t know what it can be, we don’t know what it will be, we know that it is cool.
Or Martin Luther King Jr…
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
Dublin may have hated the Beta Project idea. Perhaps the name was (and is) not right. Perhaps you might have felt that it was pointless suggesting ideas – “sure they’ll never happen anyway”. You might not have understood what Beta is for or able to look at. You might have hated the idea of The Beta Area, or it might not have worked as a test area………..
The list of assumptions that we made at the start (to allow us move forward with our experiment – the Beta Project itself) – if not endless – was certainly very long!
So for the past year or so, we’ve been asking you for feedback, and also just trying to note when people were confused about the Beta Project concept, or what you wanted from the initiative, or the types of projects that you’d like to see being tested in Dublin. We like to think of us loosely holding the rudder, but also just seeing where the idea might float and take us.
Beta Projects is still run as a 10% Innovation Time project from the City Architects Division of Dublin City Council, and it still certainly requires more than 10% of a work-week (we’d hazard a guess at least at 200% to ‘do it properly’). So naturally, we carry out a lot of it during evenings and weekends and we love every minute of it! There are also 10-20 Dublin City Council staff inputting and contributing to projects and we’re also trying to figure out aspects like how best to manage that. So there’s also a few internal Beta Projects within DCC! (Including Dublin City Beta Projects itself – still very much a trial.)
The ‘What Is…’ parts of the blog haven’t been updated since we first started. So, we’ve updated What Are Beta Projects?, and added a What’s the Beta Process? section. As usual, we’ll be tweaking these all the time as we go along.
We’ve added a FAQ (basically empty now, but which we’ll be adding to). We’re currently testing a ‘proposal form’ (optional) which might help with suggesting ideas. We’ll add that in the coming week or two.
We’ve the bones of a Priority and Kanban table system. We think that it will make the whole process more transparent…and we think you’ll like it. The aim is that those tables can be checked anytime to see the state of play of your suggestion or your personal favourite Beta Project.
(Bear in mind that what you’re seeing at the moment is VERY MUCH still a work in progress - as of writing this at 8pm on 26th March. It’s taken us longer that we’d expected to develop this, and so we’re just going to show it to you in its imperfect state. Expect lots of changes with this, including weightings and indeed scorings – we’re currently trying to test the scoring of random suggestions to see how they’re prioritised and also how easy it is to understand and use! Perhaps it’s too complicated, all we know is it doesn’t feel right yet.)
We also have ideas about how better to link back to the blog, and to (transparently) keep records of what’s going on with the various Beta Projects. That will slowly begin to appear.
The current version of Beta is 1.4 (it started at Beta 1.0) and we’re calling these changes Beta 2.0 (and no doubt expect lots more changes to make it 2.1, 2.2, etc).
As always, feedback please on the concept, the projects, how we communicate…everything!