On the 9th December, we were fortunate to be invited to exhibit Relative Insight at a Buckingham Palace reception hosted by the Duke of York for the founding of the D5 conference. I hadn’t heard of the D5 either, and it’s a new idea so that’s no real shock! The D5 is a new global network comprising of some of the most digitally advanced nations in the world. I’ve had a little interaction through previous businesses with Mike Bracken at Government Digital Services, so I was already aware of the forward-thinking approach that’s been taken by the Cabinet Office in particular when it comes to how government provides digital services. In the words of Francis Maude, “we needed to shift from thinking that people must use government services, to thinking about how people actually want to use our services.”.
Warm reception at the Palace
The reception itself was quite exciting – getting an invite from the Duke of York is an event in itself – and we didn’t quite know what to expect. I’ll freely admit to being a little nervous. It was, however, an absolute joy. From the melting pot of royalty, senior politicians, government digiterati, and tech startup folk, right through to the welcoming and unexpectedly down-to-earth staff at the palace. We know from our own experiences in the growth of Relative Insight how beneficial this kind of cross-pollination of people and industries can be, but it’s easy to forget and this was a very timely and useful reminder.
As I explained to some of the Duke’s team afterward, we gained valuable introductions for both our law enforcement and marketing work in terms of business leads and potential partners. One critical area we’ve been thinking a lot about recently is how we can augment the work that survey-based firms do by enabling them to analyse the “free text” boxes that so many people fill out, and by chance two major survey firms were present. It was also a great opportunity to test out my thinking on post-demographic segmentation, which is a very geeky way of saying that people group in tribes by interest and emotion rather than by traditional demographic segments like age and gender. People seemed to understand and agree with this quite readily. More to follow.
So what next for the D5? A charter has been defined between the participating countries, which broadly sets out their intention to harness and share digital innovation. There’s a big focus on opening up government – through open standards, open source technologies, and open markets – as well as educating children how to create using technology, rather than just consume. The next meeting is scheduled for 2015 in Estonia.