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The Award Winning Pic & Mix

“Around the world, the first phase of Government use of the internet is coming to an end with public services and information largely online. We are now at the start of a new era, where Government starts to learn how to support citizens’ own ways of making, finding and re–using information online”
So says Tom Steinberg, founder and Director of mySociety on the publication of The Power of Information, a report by him and Ed Mayo, Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council, commissioned by Cabinet Office Minister Hilary Armstrong to ensure Government acted as a leader in understanding changes in communication and information technology. The report argues that government could now grasp the opportunities that are emerging in terms of the creation, consumption and re-use of information. Current policy and action is not yet adequate to grasp these opportunities.

Extract from: http://www.binarylaw.co.uk/index.php/2007/06/14/gov-20-power-to-the-people/

What did we do about it?

It was with this backdrop that in September 2008 the Change Through Innovation team at Kent County Council (KCC) entered the PIC 'n' MIX (latterly called Pic & Mix) concept into the Innovate08 competition. We won! Following this success the Pic & Mix project was born. As part of the prize KCC receives a number of days top consultancy from Microsoft. We also won several copies of Microsoft Office, which have been shared out to charity.

What is Pic & Mix?

Wrapped up within KCC business databases is a lot of publicly available information, though not necessarily in a re-usable format. To address this Pic & Mix has three primary objectives: 1. allow information to be published in a re-usable format – e.g. RSS feeds 2. provide mashup tools to “play” with this and other external information 3. provide guidance and self-help using this Web2.0 services through wiki and forums

What’s a mashup?

Using a Web 2.0 service Wikipedia, it has an entry for mashup which says:
"In web development, a mashup is a Web application that combines data from one or more sources into a single integrated tool."
By using KCC provided re-usable data, such as an address list of schools, this could be mashed up with other data, say Google Maps to make something more useful to the mashup creator. Pic & Mix will enable ordinary users, not just computer programmers, to re-use publicly published data in a new and creative way, probably not even considered when the data was first gathered or published. Great!

If you are interested in a future application for this project, then please contact us now at innovation@kent.gov.uk.

-Glyn Davies

Thank you to
nataliej for photo(bad of pick and mix sweets) published on Flickr under Creative Commons licence, some rights reservedNoncommercialNo Derivative Works
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