Reflecting on 2023: Highlights from the LOTI team
As the end of 2023 approaches, each member of the LOTI team reflects on their highlights from the year.
Eddie Copeland, Director of LOTI:
“Another year has gone by and I remain in awe of the energy, ideas and commitment of our colleagues working across the LOTI community as they seek to ensure technology, data and innovation are used to full effect.
Behind the scenes, we’ve worked to trial innovative approaches to cyber security, share ideas and practical use cases for generativeAI and establish the first ever pan-London digital and data apprenticeship schemes, pulled together London’s data on rough sleeping so that better homelessness support and interventions can be designed, running pilots of two innovative new models that respond to pressures in Adult Social Care and exploring how better use of data can help achieve London’s net zero goals.
Using tech, data and innovation intelligently is a fundamental requirement of any modern council and key to addressing the cost pressures and rising demand they all face. It’s been an honour to support our members to do this over the past year. Thank you to everyone who has supported LOTI in 2023. Here’s to what we can achieve together in 2024!”
Polly Kwok, Communications and Engagement Manager:
“Seeing the growth of our LOTI community and the reach of our resources and events has been a real highlight for me this year. We are now a community of 27 London boroughs, and it has been great to engage with new and familiar faces as we learn, share and work together to tackle some of London’s biggest challenges.
We’ve been hosting a series of innovative in-person events unlike anything we’ve done before, from our launch event in July, to a smart city visit to Sunderland and representing London at the Smart City World Expo in Barcelona. And it has been incredible finding out from people around the world about how useful and far reaching some of our resources have been. I think this year has really set us on a very exciting innovation journey and I can’t wait to see what 2024 has in store!”
Anjali Moorthy, Service Designer:
“Our first Digital Inclusion Strategy workshop has been a major highlight so far, emphasising the significance of what we do. Seeing digital inclusion leaders come together and approach complex issues with such a high level of passion and thoughtfulness was invigorating. Our recent workshop with the Good Things Foundation in Sheffield, exploring innovative approaches to long-standing digital challenges was another high point for me.
I’m ending this year feeling really thankful for Eddie’s uplifting and astute leadership, for a manager like Genta who strives to bring out the best in me, and all the check-ins, coffee walks, and endless support I’ve experienced from the whole team. I can’t wait to march into 2024 together!”
Victoria Blyth, Pan-London Information Governance Lead:
“My proudest moments this year relate to the Strategic Insights Tool for Rough Sleeping. Similar projects had failed because the information governance couldn’t be agreed and our pan-London approach and sustained focus achieved not only agreement for phase 1, but phase 2 also.
Some of the charity partners found the resource I designed for them invaluable and it has made them more confident in their data sharing for this project, and set them up for smoother collaboration in the future. The capacity to add value in that way is one of the really rewarding parts of my role.
My closest contacts are with the information governance teams and I’m thankful for the hard work of those officers to achieve for London’s residents. A shout out to Ranisha Dhamu, who ably, and voluntarily, chairs our Information Governance for London group!”
Anna Humpleby, Data Projects Manager:
“Undoubtedly my 2023 highlight is the development and rollout of the Strategic Insights Tool for Rough Sleeping. I’m really proud of what our project team has achieved in such a short space of time, and that this tool is providing London local government and homelessness service providers with new insights to help address rough sleeping across London. It’s also a successful example of pan-London data sharing and that is no mean feat!
3 LOTI boroughs were involved in the pilot so I’d like to shout out Camden, Lambeth and Westminster for their support. Colleagues have been closely involved in shaping the tool, giving us their valuable feedback and most importantly – lending us their precious time!
I’m incredibly grateful to get to work on projects like this and I’m really excited to shape the future of the tool in the new year.”
Esther Longe, Team Administrator:
“I joined the LOTI team this year just after graduating from university. Having studied a course completely unrelated to data, digital or innovation, I was unsure of what to expect from working with LOTI. Over my nearly 3 months here I’ve learned so much about the work that the team does in bringing London together at a borough level, making interventions more outcomes focused at a resident level.
It has been incredibly inspiring working with such an innovative team who champion progress and continuous growth. The team has such a unique and dynamic way of working that I have never experienced in any other workplace.
Shout out to my manager Polly for being so invested in my development and to the rest of the LOTI team for welcoming me so warmly and bringing me up to speed on all things DDI.”
Jay Saggar, Programme Manager: Data, Smart Cities & Cyber Security:
“This year I’ve been exploring how our methods can support climate leads from London Councils, the Boroughs and the GLA. This work has been both challenging and rewarding, charting a new course for our organisation requires navigating ambiguity and deciphering opportunities out of complexity. I’m very grateful to all my colleagues who have supported what is an ongoing process, bringing their unique insights and expertise to this sense making exercise. It’s also involved learning a lot about retrofit!
I have also been fortunate to travel this year. My trips to Seoul and Barcelona have exposed me to new ideas that have helped develop my understanding of what data and smart city technology can mean for London.
Seeing the Strategic Impact Tool for Rough Sleeping come to life has been deeply satisfying. I’m really proud of the work Anna has done to lead this project and excited about the future developments of the tool that are currently being defined with users.”
Sam Nutt, Researcher & Data Ethicist:
“With advances in AI and the associated interest and excitement for councils, my 2023 at LOTI was mostly defined by exploring and understanding what this meant for councils, in terms of being ambitious as well as ethical users of AI. We’ve worked with a range of partners to produce guidance and a State of Play Report for local government staff, run AI meet-ups with LOTI officers, hosted an in-person Copilot in Local Government session and more.
Alongside this I’ve also been working on innovative approaches to resident engagement. In parallel to doing forthcoming research, we ran a fantastic conference in February on resident participation and we’ve also been working on linking up the themes of resident participation with data and AI. I was most proud of running the first ever London Data Week in July, a weeklong, distributed and public festival about data and AI, run with The Alan Turing Institute and Greater London Authority. In total, organisations put on 18 events and we had over 1100 people attend in person and we can’t wait for London Data Week 2024 next year!”
Genta Hajri, Delivery Lead: Digital Innovation:
“As we approach the end of 2023, I’m grateful that with the support of our boroughs and partners, we’ve been able to really develop and scale our innovation activities.
We’ve been able to fund not one but two amazing social care projects, one looking at developing a data platform to provide better information to frontline workers and the other piloting a home care approach that combines formal and informal care. Without the involvement and the support of colleagues from Brent, Hackney, Hounslow and Southwark none of these projects would be possible. Our partners from Social Finance and Equal Care Coop bring their experience and steer us so we can maximise the impact of these small scale pilots.
Securing funding for Get Online London for another two years means thousands more Londoners will get online. This wouldn’t be possible without our GLA champions, Theo Blackwell and Sara Kelly and the talented team at Good Things Foundation.”