Speakers and Schedule

The Open-data Cities Conference was organised in association with Kasabi, an online marketplace that brings developers and data publishers together to enable new business models for consumers and producers of data at all scales.

Schedule for the Open-data Cities Conference:

9.15am-9.55am: Registration

10am-10.30am: John Barradell, chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council (Because of the illness of John Barradell, his presentation was given by Charlie Stewart, strategic director of resources, and John Shewell, head of communications)

10.30am-11am: Leigh Dodds, chief technology officer of Kasabi

11am-11.15am: Break

11.15am-11.45am: Jonathan Carr-West, director of Local Government Information Unit

11.45am-12.15pm: Tom Steinberg, founder and director of mySociety

12.15pm-1pm: Drew Hemment, founder and chief executive of FutureEverything, and Bill Thompson, head of partnership development, archive development at the BBC

1pm-2pm: Presentations and Q&A in Founders Room, including a showcase of the Map the Museum project

2pm-2.30pm: Lean Doody, associate at Arup

2.30pm-3pm: Emer Coleman, deputy director of digital engagement at the Government Digital Service

3pm-3.15pm: Break

3.15pm-3.45pm: Ian Holt, senior developer programme manager at Ordnance Survey

3.45pm-4.15pm: Laura James, foundation coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation

4.15pm-4.45pm: “Open mic”: lightning contributions from the floor

4.45pm-5.15pm: Greg Hadfield, founder of Open Brighton and Hove


Speakers at the Open-data Cities Conference:

John Barradell,  chief executive officer of Brighton and Hove City Council 

John Barradell

John is passionate about public services and believes that councils should be at the heart of communities. He places great emphasis on excellent customer service and on serving residents with pride and professionalism.

He came to Brighton and Hove in 2009 from Westminster City Council, where he had been deputy chief executive since 2006. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours in January 2008.

His service in local government follows a 22-year career in various roles in the private sector before joining Westminster City Council in 2002.

John’s commercial experience has been in the information technology sector in various marketing management roles in companies such as Unisys and Hewlett Packard.

Linkedin | @johnbarradell


Leigh Dodds, chief technology officer of Kasabi

Leigh Dodds

Leigh is passionate about creating products that make a difference. “I love the web, working with data, code and a great team,” he says.

He has overseen product development and technical strategy for Kasabi’s core product and APIs.

In addition to data-acquisition strategy, Leigh has also contributed to business development, planning and modelling.Previously, he undertook consulting projects with the BBC and the UK government, contributing to the data.gov.uk effort with training and data conversions.

Linkedin | @ldodds


Jonathan Carr-West, director of Local Government Information Unit

Jonathan Carr-West

Jonathan leads the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) policy team, which seeks to strengthen local democracy by developing new thinking and practice on how local communities can have more influence over the areas they live in and the services they use and how local government can help them to do so.

Some of Jonathan’s particular interests are participative democracy, the evolving nature of communities and behaviour change.

“I’m interested in how to make change happen and in how big new ideas translate into practical policies that deliver real progress for organisations, communities and individuals,” he says.

“Professionally, that means designing and delivering research and public policy projects that find creative but practical responses to complex social or organisational problems.”

Before joining the LGiU, Jonathan was deputy programme director at the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Commerce and Manufactures). At the RSA, he developed and managed more than a dozen major action research projects in areas including personal carbon trading, water and sanitation provision in the developing world and the economics of migration.

He has published on topics as diverse as cognitive and behavioural science, water provision and the politics of cultural memory.

Linkedin | @joncarrwest


Tom Steinberg, founder and director of mySociety

Tom Steinberg

An international non-profit group that aims at helping people become more powerful in the civic and democratic parts of their lives through digital means, mySociety runs the popular UK transparency websites, TheyWorkForYou and WhatDoTheyKnow, and the problem-fixing sites, FixMyStreet and FixMyTransport. It also builds open source software to enable international re-use of mySociety’sprojects.

Tom’s job is to help ensure that mySociety’s UK sites are as helpful as possible to the people who need them, to enable and encourage overseas groups to deploy their own versions, and to supply products and consulting services to media companies, campaign groups and public sector clients.

Tom’s interest in technology and government comes from an unusual background in both fields. Having worked as a sysadmin and junior think-tank researcher, he became a policy analyst at the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit from 2001 to 2003.

Outside of mySociety, Tom is frequently asked by governments to help formulate policy advice relating to digital issues. Tom has also advised governments and parties across a spectrum of countries, and a range of ideological positions. He believes that good digital government services, usable community tools and powerful transparency sites are not the preserve of any one political ideology.



Bill Thompson, head of partnership development, archive development at the BBC

Bill ThompsonBill Thompson has been working in, on and around the internet since 1984. He spends his time thinking, writing and speaking about the digital world we are in the midst of building.

He appears weekly on Click on the BBC World Service, writes a regular column for Focus magazine; he is an advisor to a range of arts and cultural organisations on their digital strategies and a member of the board of Writers’ Centre Norwich.

He is currently working in the Archive Development team at the BBC building relationships with museums, galleries and institutions.

Linkedin @billt


Dr Drew Hemment, founder and chief executive officer of FutureEverything

Drew Hemment

Drew Hemment is founder and chief executive officer of FutureEverything, the UK’s award-winning digital culture festival and innovation lab; he is also associate director of ImaginationLancaster at Lancaster University.

Over 20 years, his work around the world at the leading edge of digital culture has been been covered by New York Times, Guardian, Wall Street Journal, BBC and NBC. His achievements have been recognised by awards from the arts, technology and business sectors, including the Lever Prize 2010 (winner) and Prix Ars Electronica 2008 (honorary mention).

Drew directs a Data Art programme and was commissioned to scope the potential for data-visualisation at London 2012 Olympics. He has contributed to open-data policy in Greater Manchester and DataGM (Greater Manchester Datastore). Current projects include The Creative Exchange, a £4m Knowledge Hub in the Creative Economy (AHRC) and £1.9m Catalyst tools for social change (EPSRC).

Linkedin | @toodrew


Lean Doody, Associate at Arup 

Lean Doody

Lean concentrates on the application of information and communications technology (ICT) in urban developments.

She leads Arup’s work in Smart Cities, looking at how information technology and data in cities can impact how people use cities, with an emphasis on supporting sustainable cities.

Recent project work has been in developing ICT strategies for new urban developments and cities in the United Kingdom, Finland, China and Qatar.

Linkedin | @ldoody


Emer Coleman, Deputy Director of Digital Engagement at the Government Digital Service

Emer Coleman

Emer, whose background includes communications and journalism, is former director of digital projects for the Greater London Authority.

She holds a BA in History and Sociology from University College Cork and an MPA from Warwick Business School. She was named in Wired’s Top 100 Digital Power Influencers List 2011

When appointed to her current role in December 2011, she said: “I have been fortunate to have been working in the field of open data and open governance for the past two years in my role as Director of Digital Projects in the Greater London Authority.

“In that time my focus has been on London as a city and how collaboration between technologists and the state can create conditions where innovation flourishes to the benefit of the citizen. I hope my experience in London will benefit GDS as it continues its journey to embed digital by default across the whole of Government.”

Linkedin | @emercoleman


Ian Holt, senior developer programme manager at Ordnance Survey

Ian Holt

Ian is responsible for encouraging and stimulating the use of OS OpenData and OS OpenSpace. In addition, he is a member of the GeoVation team, promoting innovation through the use of geography.

He has more than 15 years’ experience in the geospatial industry and has spent a good part of his career developing enterprise geospatial solutions for the utilities, communications, and public organisations.

More recently, at Ordnance Survey, Ian founded and managed the “Skunkworks” innovation lab and, as a senior research scientist, worked on the early ontology and linked-data implementations.

Ian volunteers for MapAction, an in-field NGO dedicated to provide mapping services to help support disaster-relief efforts.

Linkedin | @IanHolt


Dr Laura James, foundation coordinator of Open Knowledge Foundation

Dr Laura James

Dr Laura James leads operations and strategic development of the Open Knowledge Foundation, which has established itself as a leading organisation working on open data and open access to knowledge both nationally and internationally.

It has more than two dozen active projects and working groups organising activities around the world, building open source tools, platforms and communities to enable data and other kinds of content to be open, shared, discovered, used and reused.

Laura is also co-founder and director of Makespace, a non-profit creating and inventing shed in the city centre of Cambridge: a workshop with a wide range of manufacturing tools from 3D printing to electronics assembly, a space where people can meet, learn, build and play.

Linkedin | @LaurieJ


Greg Hadfield, founder of Open-data Brighton and Hove 

Greg Hadfield

Greg was the first national newspaper journalist to leave Fleet Street for the internet in the mid-1990s. A former news editor of The Sunday Times, he and his son, Tom – then aged 12 – created Soccernet, the world’s most popular football website, in 1995.

Four years later, after Soccernet was sold to ESPN for $40m, Greg created Schoolsnet, an education website, which he sold to a company co-owned by Jeremy Hunt, now Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

Most recently, he was head of digital development and Telegraph Media Group and director of strategic projects at Cogapp, a leading digital agency.

Linkedin | @GregHadfield

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