What

[Version 4.0 - Update 21/03/14]

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‘Dublin City Council Beta Projects’ is a better way for trialling new ideas in Dublin.

It aims to encourage, support, and facilitate City Council staff to be able to experiment and innovate. It’s aiming to try to establish a single, standard system for staff to use whether trialling things as diverse as a new website, or a new type of street light, or a new policy around street art – a standard set of tools and approaches for staff to use. It might be summarised as something like the following…

“When a trial is done as a ‘Beta Project’, the Council knows that it will be done in a certain, pre-agreed way, and so can feel confident when new ideas are being trialled, and will be better able to assess whether it seems to be a good idea for citizens and the city.”

For that reason we also often say that “Beta Projects are a systematic approach for a city to discuss issues and opportunities, co-create solutions, and prototype them ‘on the street’ for measurement and debate”. 

(The aim is to also to make that system public and so anyone trying anything new in Dublin might wish to use all or some of it as they wish. For example, a project such as Granby Park might decide to use some or all of these metrics when trying to communicate the impact of the project – including to Dublin City Council.)

Dublin City Council Beta Projects have the following 5 characteristics:

  1. They are ‘time bound’ (ie run for a period with a clear start and finish date)
  2. They are ‘location bound’ (ie only impact a limited area)
  3. They aim to be easily reversibleflexible, and (ideally) platforms for further ideas.
  4. They prioritise projects which will have a large impact relative to the amount of effort involved.
  5. They aim for very early discussion and actively look for feedback and suggestions.

Dublin City Council Beta Projects began as a ’10% Innovation Time Project’ (10% of office hours can be used for non-core work) from the City Architects Division for two years before being adopted as a formal project.

If you’re wondering what “beta” means – we’re adopting the mainly-computer language of “beta testing“, or “in beta”, which simply means that something’s not perfect and is being released into the world early to receive feedback to allow it to develop further. The “Beta Projects” is a new approach by Dublin City CouncilI and is learning and changing as it goes – and so we say that it’s “in beta” itself.

16 Responses to What

  1. Ddools says:

    This sounds like a great idea!.

  2. Ronan says:

    good stuff! will be interesting to see how this develops.

  3. Sounds great, well done folks!

  4. I think this sounds great – really looking forward to seeing how it progresses.
    Nuala

  5. dubcitybeta says:

    Thanks Ciarán, thanks Nuala, thanks Ronan!

  6. Will Burke says:

    Mmmm sounds very interesting. I look forward in seeing the results around this great city of our.

  7. Excellent idea. PutsThinkingHatOn!

  8. Eamonn Clarke says:

    Good initiative. It would useful if you get the public’s ideas on potential problem areas that would benefit from the trial approach? The piece above is not clear if it is DCC’s ideas being trialled or if DCC wants ideas for trials. The more ideas the better do would be useful to have a site for submitting ideas. You should link in with the Dublin Cycling Campaign for ideas and there is certainly scope to have trials on dealing with litter blackspots outside the main city centre.

  9. sarah newell says:

    We need more of these evidence based initiatives in this country to inform policy…more councils should follow dcc’s vision

  10. Interesting concepts, I will be watching to see how this develops to see if it is workable down this way.

    • DCCbeta says:

      We’re hoping to bit-by-bit create a mechanism that’s exportable to anywhere. In theory. :)

    • DCCbeta says:

      Worth pointing out two things…
      1. Beta looks at citywide concepts.
      2. We’re constantly looking to see what other local authorities / public governance / groups are doing. For eg, we recently spoke to Limerick CC recently regarding a project.
      …so in theory, even if you’re based outside Dublin, a Dublin City Beta Project will be likely useful as a starting point in lots of Ireland’s cities (and perhaps Ireland’s towns, and perhaps also outside of Ireland).

      So if you spot a ‘Limerick’ issue/opportunity, and it equally applies in Dublin, we could trial it here for Dublin…but it might also be useful for Limerick.

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