screenshot of learning personas document

Learning personas for public services (ODI)

How can tools support the use of open data to improve public services?

Thu May 10, 2018
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Over the past 12 months we’ve been working on a project to support the use of open data in public service design and delivery as part of our innovation programme. We’ve released a report, Using open data to deliver public services (which is open for comments), looking at patterns for how open data is being used in public services. We also worked with four teams led by local councils to redesign services using open data.

Both of these strands of work helped us to understand how open data can support better designed, more innovative and more efficient public services. But we found that not everyone feels that they have the skills and expertise to do this. We wanted to help change that.

What do people redesigning public services need to know about open data?

We started by trying to understand the learning needs of people who deliver, design and redesign public services. In collaboration with ODI Devon and ODI Leeds, we ran two workshops with people working in the public sector to build personas. We then worked with ODI Devon to test our personas through interviews, to understand which skills on the ODI Skills Framework those people might need, and to identify existing tools that each persona might find useful.

Today we’re openly publishing our personas, as well as the list of tools and a form to suggest tools that could be added. We’re on our third iteration of the personas and we’d like your input on whether they’re useful:

  • Are the personas the right people? Are any key stakeholders missing? Do the needs fit with your expectations?
  • Are the tools helpful? If so, what things do they help with? Where do you need more support to redesign or deliver services using open data?

What’s next, and how can I contribute?

We are continuing this project over the next year. Our aim is to work with the public sector and their service design partners to help people use open data when delivering and designing services. We are particularly keen to talk to you if:

  • You work in the public sector developing, designing or delivering public services
  • You work with public sector organisations to support them to do these tasks. This group might include people who deliver services on behalf of the public sector, or people who work in service design, (open) data, innovation, or other fields
  • You have released tools to help the public sector redesign services, and want to understand how data can compliment these.

We are committed to working in the open, sharing what we do and learning together as we go.  If you’re interested in working together on this project, finding out more, or have any feedback on what we’ve done so far please email