Skip to main content

Open Data, a vision from Leeds

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Uncategorized

The Ambition

Leeds is a fabulous city and has the ambition to be the best city in the UK. What makes this city great are the people and the communities they create.  Leeds sits at the centre of a City Region and within a County – Yorkshire for those that might need reminding, that is and has been for over two centuries an economic and cultural powerhouse of the UK and was the cradle of the Industrial Revolution. 

Like every other city, Leeds has undergone significant change in recent decades and is facing significant opportunities as we navigate the Information Revolution and entre the ‘Knowledge Worker Age’

We get it, we know we are living through a transformational age, we really understand the economic opportunity, but we also know that these disruptive factors need curation and brokering to deliver their full transformative power for all our communities. We recognise the potential that technology and data provide to transform services and enhance the way we live our lives and help create a truly integrated and digitally enabled ‘Smart City’.

Data is the fuel of the future city economy and is one of the critical ingredients for prosperity and growth as well as helping to identify and address inequality. It also provides us with the raw material for innovation and the opportunity for our civic Institutions to be the catalyst for the creation of real shared value in our communities. 

The Opportunity

Unleashing the power of Open Data will not only to improve transparency and accountability but will encourage collaboration between different sectors and drive innovation through fresh insights. 

Open Data will foster a new form of civic enterprise as we harness the talents and potential of our citizens and communities, to help answer and solve the city’s questions and challenges.

The value of data does not come from the data itself but from the analysis and creation of knowledge that will focus attention on unwanted variation in performance that will drive quality improvements and generate significant opportunities for efficiency gains.

Leeds is fortunate to have a very active local data community. Leeds Data Thing ( meets regularly and encourages like-minded people to share ideas about data over a pint.

The Approach

We are building an Open Data Platform - Leeds Data Mill ( and have created the Open Data Institute - Leeds City Region Node ( to demonstrate the value of Open Data, promote data use and curate and accelerate our progress.

This will be aided through a series of compelling stories including the use of ‘data journalism’, the creation and support of open data start-ups and animation of this cross-cutting theme throughout our City.

We have secured a physical ‘Impact Hub’ space which opens in April 2014 to provide a focal point to capture value by connecting people (entrepreneurs, investors, and data scientists) with the city’s data assets. The facility will also provide a start-up and investment model for acceleration as well a civic lab for tackling city issues.

The Value

The value of Open Data comes from what people organisations and communities do with it and therefore we are placing most value on delivered use cases that are long term in nature with sustainable business plans.

In the future this may mean that new business models emerge that successfully share value between the Civic Institutions that hold data, Individuals & Communities that generate data and the Companies and Organisations that help generate real shared value.

Leeds is focusing initially on Health and Care, Energy and Environment and Civic Innovation.

Leading the way we see the massive potential of data related to health and wellbeing as we explore the combination of open data with professionally created data (Leeds Care Record) combined with citizen created data. 


What make all this particularly exciting for me is how these data opportunity touch all sectors, all types of people and business and make a real difference to daily lives.

There is huge energy and momentum building in Leeds around ‘Open Data’ and we have all the ingredients to generate an explosive cocktail for innovation, enterprise and growth that will make Leeds known as one of the best cities in the world for Open Data.


Tim Straughan, Leeds

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by RobMoores posted on

    Where can I find out more about this facility due to open in April 2014 ? Thanks.

  2. Comment by Millerjames posted on

    It's quiet information. Data and vision are two most comprehensive terms should have to asscociate with each other.