Dublin City Council beta is being put into ‘hibernation’. I’d like to explain why, and what this means.
As described on the home page of this website,
This is a Dublin City Council project which was initiated as an ‘innovation time project’, is now being carried out part-time, and is being developed ‘bottom-up’ by Dublin City Council staff. It’s also a trial – itself “in beta”.
Dublin City Council beta is the backend ecosystem (funding, staff time, red-tape workarounds, transferable processes, etc) which enables the various individual Beta Projects to occur. It’s often invisible, certainly less tangible and easy to describe, and currently takes up much of the time which I spend on Beta. Think of the iceberg analogy.
With Dublin City Council beta, I’ve been trying to develop a different approach to the more usual centralised, fully-staffed, section – instead trying to develop a ‘platform’, staffed part-time by staff (and citizens) which dip in and out as required, depending on what Beta Projects are moving through the pipeline at the time.
The time has come for the trial to pause for assessment, and a decision made as to whether to fully resource it and take it to the next level – much the same treatment as any of the Beta Projects themselves. It won’t be simple given the current public sector challenges and levels of resourcing, however we are also mindful of the risk of viewing time spent on better problem solving as “fringe”…
Why put it into hibernation now?
- In a previous life as an entrepreneur co-founding GoCar, I found that there was never enough time and always too much to have to do and learn…which is also often the fun of it all, the diversity of the role and the speed at which you’re learning new things. I can now tell you that it’s no different as an intrapreneur! Always a lot to manage, running Beta has become more unsustainable as the concept has grown over the last 3.5 years, alongside the core workload for the staff involved.
- Rather than growing towards the vision that we have in mind, there is a risk of a limping Beta damaging the concept. I’ve decided that it will be better to put it into hibernation whilst we review the concept. Think of this in much the same way as the way Beta Projects policy trials are removed in order to maintain trust, avoid blurring the concept, and to also remove pressure from the trial in order to encourage internal discussions to take place.
- It’s also timely in terms of trials with the first Beta Project now being expanded across the city, and the most recent trial having recently finished.
What will ‘Hibernation’ mean?
For the remainder of 2015, we won’t be working on developing any more Beta Projects, and the various Beta communication channels (email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, website comments, etc) won’t be responded to during this period.
This website will continue to be available as an information resource.
Please send on your Feedback!
Just as individual Beta Projects are assessed with their results publicly reported, I’m committing to issuing a Report Card on the Dublin City Council beta concept itself in the next month or two.
All feedback regarding Beta would be very useful with regard to preparing that ‘DCCbeta Report Card’, which in turn will also be useful to help us with our internal determinations regarding the future of the Beta concept!
Have you found the format of Beta Projects useful? Would you like to see more of the approach? Why, or why not?
On behalf of myself and the various Dublin City Council staff who have been involved, I’d like to thank each and every one of you who contributed in some way – whether strategy advice, suggestions, constructive criticism, proposing or participation in a Beta Project, or simply giving us a thumbs up here and there! It has been greatly appreciated. 🙂
All the best,
21st September 2015