Para mil londinenses ha sido suficiente pagar una cuota anual de 25 libras y comprometerse a cuatro horas de trabajo al mes para convertise en dueños de su propio supermercado sostenible. De momento no se puede decir que el proyecto es rentable pero sí posible. Mientras espera obtener los beneficios que garanticen su existencia, la cooperativa The People´s Supermarket demuestra que el poder de la gente supera todas las trabas que dinero y política han puesto en su camino.

En El cliente es el dueño en The People’s Supermarket, en Yorokobu.

… is a shift towards localism, allowing communities to shape their own future. It is about small scale activity as opposed to those on a national or global scale, on everything from food and energy production to politics. Again this trend is not specific to the UK but finds resonance in other parts of Europe and North America. Taken together, localism and regionalism form part of a powerful countercurrent to globalisation. In the UK however, the  debate about the government’s Localism Bill has been soured by the suspicion that, for all the proposals to devolve power to communities and local authorities, the bill is no more than a Trojan horse for a hidden agenda of economic growth at any cost, unfettered by planning regulations or community consultation.

It is these trends which combine to allow the emergence of new forms of civic activity using the internet as both an organising tool and a means by which skills, information and ideas are shared and spread rapidly. There are four examples that are worth looking at. Others can probably add to the list. 

[1] The first is the spread of what are called ‘hyperlocal websites’, citizen run websites where news, views and issues are aired and discussed. … three well established neighbourhood web sites Brockely CentralEast Dulwich Forum and Harringay Online. All of them, with their mix of news, blogs and discussion forums reflect the interests and concerns of local people. People are free to publish content on any subject unmediated by the filtering effects of commercial newspapers …

[2] The second example is the creation of online resources such as OpenlyLocal andMySociety which are driving forward more open, accountable government

[3] A third example is online sites which are repositories of spreadsheet data. These have grown exponentially as the result of the push for open data. Two of the best known ones are Guardian Data Blog and Google Public data and both hold a range of data on everything from child poverty to school league tables. This data has been pulled from sites such as  or Eurostat and turned into simple powerful visualisations such as heat maps, bar charts or pie charts …

[4] Finally there are the peer learning networks and training organisations to which community activists can turn for help and resources. Our Society is an online peer learning network where you can set up a profile to say a bit about yourself and join working groups that usually focused around a particular theme such as community organising, localism or sustainability.   But for many community activists unfamiliar with the interne, there is now a growing range of hands-on support and training  offered by organisations such as  Networked NeighbourhoodsTalk About LocalPodnosh and Social Reporter to name but a few …

While representative democracy remains central to our state institutions it needs to be complimented by more open government at the local level which allows people a direct say in both the decisions that shape their lives - and the means by which they are carried out. It is this prospect offered by the internet and social media tools in particular - and the contours of this new landscape are already evident.  

Nor is there any let up in momentum. These technologies are barely ten years old and are accompanied by the spread of cheap broadband and free wifi. The digital divide still means that significant numbers of people in our most deprived communities don’t have access to a computer at home; but  smart-phone technology is beginning to fill the gaps. Technological advancement and the open data movement combined with the localism agenda, have created too great a momentum to be knocked off course by the heated contention about the present government’s approach. These are paradigm shifts that are bigger than any political party and will outlast this government and the next …

(download pdf)

Prototyping in Public Servicesdescribes an approach that can be used to help develop new and innovative services by testing ideas out early in the development cycle.

NESTA has produced a guide for policymakers, strategy leads, heads of service, commissioners and anyone else in a public service looking for new methodologies that can help them to better meet the needs of their communities. It sits alongside the Prototyping Framework: A guide to prototyping new ideas which provides examples of activities that can happen at different stages of a prototyping project.

The guide and toolkit are early outputs from our prototyping work and are based on work NESTA and its partners have been doing with several local authorities and third sector organisations. We will continue to learn about prototyping as an approach that can be used to develop public services, through our practical programmes.

The relationship between teaching and research goes to the heart of the meaning and purpose of higher education. The fundamentalist view of the university is that teaching which is not based on research carried out by academics and students is not higher education. The first modern European university, established by Wilhelm von Humboldt in Berlin in 1810, was designed with research and teaching closely aligned. Students and teachers worked together. This model was developed to facilitate the production of new knowledge, against the dogmatic scholasticism of the medieval university, and to establish the “idea of the university” as the highest level of what a society knows about itself as a progressive political project.

The idea of the university as a progressive political project was further radicalised by the students and their teachers in 1968. In Paris and around the world the elitist exclusion of students was challenged by undergraduates who claimed that research is “something that anyone can do”, a claim they supported by publishing work that revealed not just the crisis in higher education but the crisis of society in general. The ongoing student protests in the UK and around the world are at their most compelling when they provide a critical response not simply to cuts in funding but to the debate about the future of higher education. This means discussing the idea of the university as part of a wider debate relating to issues of who has the resources to produce new knowledge, who owns that knowledge and what it is used for beyond the confines of campus life.

The slogan “Student as producer” is derived from an article written by the Marxist intellectual Walter Benjamin in Germany in the 1930s. In it he made a series of suggestions as to how radical intellectuals should act in a time of social crisis. This included finding ways to enable students, readers, and audiences to become teachers, writers and actors – as producers of their own cultural and intellectual products. The wider political point was for passive consumers of culture and knowledge to transform themselves into the subjects rather than simply the objects of history and to recognise themselves in a social world of their own design.

In a moment when higher education is in crisis, and in a context where the crisis of institutions is part of a much wider crisis at the level of global society, a critical engagement with the notion of student as producer, based on Benjamin’s progressive programme for action, seems like the right place from which to be reinventing the undergraduate curriculum.

The way to improve the student learning experience is not to treat students as consumers nor to claim, as the white paper on higher education does, that students lie at the “heart of the system”. It is rather by recognising that universities are about the expansive production of knowledge and meaning and that this can best be achieved by students and academics working collaboratively on research projects inside and outside the curriculum.

Examples of undergraduate research:

The British Conference for Undergraduate Research

Reinvention: A Journal of Undergraduate Research

Student as Producer: reinventing the undergraduate curriculum

Higher Education Academy : Developing Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (pdf)

Undergraduate Research in Australia

The Guardian has obtained a database of more than 2.5m twitter messages related to the riots.

These messages - unique records of what happened during the August riots, as they happened - have been used in a range of analyses, including how rumours spread and were eventually debunked…

Emerging Practice in a Digital Age explores how colleges and universities are embracing innovation and using emerging technologies to enhance learning in a climate of economic pressure, changing social circumstances and rapid technological change. 

Aimed at those in further and higher education who design and support learning, the guide draws on recent JISC reports and case studies to investigate how the emergence of new and more powerful technologies together with an increase in personal ownership of these technologies are changing the way we connect, communicate and collaborate, and how these changes can benefit learning. The focus of this guide is on emerging practice rather than emerging technology.

The case studies describe a series of exploratory journeys through the themes of:

  • Working in partnership with students 
  • Developing students’ employability potential
  • Preparing for the future

Emerging Practice in a Digital Age is a companion guide to Effective Practice in a Digital Age (JISC 2009) and Innovative Practice with e-Learning (JISC 2005).

Available in PDF y text-only Word format  


Working in partnership with students
1) Supporting student transition through reflective video sharing. University of Ulster
2) Engaging students as agents of change. University of Exeter
3) Students as partners in blending learning. University of Wolverhampton

Developing students’ employability potential
1) Developing professional practice using simulations. Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth
2) Moving into virtual worlds. University of Derby and Aston University
3) Springboard TV: enhancing employability. College of West Anglia
4) Assessment and Learning in Practice Settings (ALPS). Universities of Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield and Leeds Metropolitan and York St John Universities

Preparing for the future
1) Linking learning to location. University Campus Suffolk
2) Mobile Oxford: opening access to information. University of Oxford
3) Creating the culture: a holistic approach to technology-enhanced learning. Gloucestershire College

Within the series of three papers: ‘The arts economy’, ‘Place infrastructure and digital’ and ‘Towards an arts and creative economy’, Tom Fleming and Andrew Erskine illustrate synergies between the arts and the creative economy and discuss suggestions for the Arts Council’s approach…

Supporting growth in the arts economy [PDF 1.3 MB]

Author: Dr Tom Fleming and Andrew Erskine of Tom Flemming Creative Consultancy. ISBN:978-0-7287-1503-5, 112 pages

A major new independent report to the UK Prime Minister on his country’s intellectual property laws is out. Digital Opportunity: A Review of Intellectual Property and Growth could hardly make its position clearer: the UK has lost its way when it comes to copyright policy.

We urge Government to ensure that in future, policy on Intellectual Property issues is constructed on the basis of evidence, rather than weight of lobbying…

On copyright issues, lobbying on behalf of rights owners has been more persuasive to Ministers than economic impact assessments…

Much of the data needed to develop empirical evidence on copyright and designs is privately held. It enters the public domain chiefly in the form of 'evidence' supporting the arguments of lobbyists (‘lobbynomics’) rather than as independently verified research conclusions…

Estimates of the scale of illegal digital downloads in the UK ranges between 13 per cent and 65 per cent in two studies published last year. A detailed survey of UK and international data finds that very little of it is supported by transparent research criteria. Meanwhile sales and profitability levels in most creative business sectors appear to be holding up reasonably well. We conclude that many creative businesses are experiencing turbulence from digital copyright infringement, but that at the level of the whole economy, measurable impacts are not as stark as is sometimes suggested.

… Los ministerios pierden las competencias para “abrir webs”. No habrá nuevos sitios web, salvo excepciones estrictas que deberán pasar el filtro del despacho de Maude y ser apobadas por Danny Alexander, ministro del Tesoro...

Francis Maude trabajará para transformar los sitios web que sobrevivan en una auténtica red “al servicio de público” y que permita también aumentar el número de personas que sean capaces de utilizar Internet. Su propuesta pretende compartir recursos y hacer obligatorio el uso de productos de bajo coste y código abierto. Para esta tarea, el nuevo gobierno, cuenta con la colaboración de la carismática empresaria, Martha Lane Fox, fundadora de

Martha Lane Fox, fue el prestigioso nombre de consenso que Nick Clegg y David Cameron pactaron para determinar una estrategia de comunicación digital de vanguardia junto con el Consejo de Transparencia que prepara un informe para liberar contenidos y agilizar la revolución informativa que predica el nuevo gobierno.

El Consejo de la Transparencia digital o “consejo asesor digital” está formado por reconocidos partidarios del open-government. Sir Tim Berners-Leeinventor de la World Wide Web, el profesor Nigel Shadbolt de la Universidad de Southampton, un experto en datos abiertos, Tom Steinberg, fundador de mySociety y el economista Rufus Pollock (en la foto) de la Universidad de Cambridge.

Rufus Pollock es fundador de la Fundación Conocimiento Abierto y miembro destacado deCreative Commons UK. Su nombramiento y el de los otros citados se plantea como la mejor evidencia del “cambio en las relaciones del poder y los ciudadanos”. En tiempos de guerra el gobierno británico confía al joven profesor que dijo “Queremos los datos a granel y los queremos ya”, la agenda de la “liberación de contenidos”.

Francis Maude ha insistido en la idea de que austeridad no significa falta de ambición en una nueva política de comunicación pública. Al contrario. La austeridad forma parte, con la transparencia y eficacia, de los nuevos modos de hacer política que deben impregnarse de la filosofía “abierta”. La prioridad del nuevo gobierno a corto plazo (septiembre) será la definición y aplicación práctica de unos principios claros y concretos, “hasta en los pequeños detalles” para el cumplimiento real de los compromisos de transparencia en el sector público …

The Guardian acaba de publicar un suplemento sobre diseño de servicios en colaboración con SDN(Service Design Network), red de la que somos miembros desde el inicio del 2009. Lo primero dar la enhorabuena a todo el equipo de SDN y a The Guardian. Es genial que medios de gran difusión dediquen parte de sus páginas a legitimar mejor nuestra actividad en el diseño de servicios.

Se puede ver contenido del suplemento en el siguiente enlace: O bien, puedes descargarte el PDF desde aquí.

It all began with a lunch. Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the world wide web, was invited to Chequers in spring 2009. A government taskforce had just published a report aimed at making Britain a digital world leader and technological reform was in the air. Even so, Berners-Lee was surprised at what came next. “The prime minister asked me what Britain should do in order to make the best use of the internet,” he told Prospect in early January. “I said, you should put all your government data onto the web. And he said, let’s do it.” A month later, Berners-Lee flew in from his base at MIT in Boston for a meeting, this time a cup of tea with Brown in the garden at No 10. He brought with him his friend and colleague Nigel Shadbolt, a professor of artificial intelligence at Southampton University, who works on next generation web technology and has piloted his work on public data. Sitting in wicker chairs, they hatched a plan for a new government team, led by Berners-Lee, to unlock Britain’s public data.

On 21st January this year, less than 12 months later, the government launched a website to do just that (you may have seen the television adverts). Modelled on a similar effort by President Obama, brings together over 2,500 public data sets, ranging from abandoned vehicles and A&E stats to child tax credits and carbon indicators. And Brown has promised, in a few months’ time, to open up the jewel in Britain’s data crown: the maps made by Ordnance Survey…

Becta, the UK government agency promoting the use of information and communications technology in the British education system, has published a new report reviewing the evidence of the impact of digital technologies on formal education, which demonstrates their positive impact on measurable learning outcomes.

The so-called hard evidence is supplemented by softer observational evidence, which has an important role in explaining why the positive outcomes have or have not accrued.

» Download report

Open discussion for a more open world.

Increasingly, the UK has become a surveillance society: one in which we aren’t allowed to see the workings of government, nor governmental information relating to our towns and cities, yet are captured on camera more often than citizens of any other country in the world. At the same time, commercial services capture detailed information about our lives and sell it for commercial gain, without letting us decide who gets to see it. The ethics of social media remain relatively unexplored while the technology develops at breakneck speed.

At BarCamp Transparency we’ll be talking about ways to improve transparency in government, social media ethics and cyber activism. If you’re interested in a more open and democratic society, we’d love to have you there. Attendance is free: just bring your ideas and a willingness to discuss.


(vía P2P Foundation)