About Bruce Ryan

https://about.me/bruce.ryan

Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice

This afternoon I was at a seminar on Deliberative Innovation: Research and Practice at Edinburgh University’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities. This was presented by Oliver Escobar and Stephen Elstub, and chaired by Sara Drury. It was great to to meet and learn from Oliver, Stephen, Sara, some of Sara’s students from Wabash College and others in a very varied gathering.

As usual, this post is mostly composed of my tweets, slightly edited for comprehensibility. Larger amendments and additions are in [square brackets]. The block-quotes are my thoughts.

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Research Impact and Value in LIS: introducing the RIVAL network

Copied from Hazel Hall’s blog

This afternoon I’m speaking at the Edge conference in Edinburgh about a new project, as summarised in the slide below.

RIVAL launch posterWe started work on Research Impact and Value and LIS (RIVAL) on 1st February 2019. The Royal Society of Edinburgh has awarded us a grant to create a collaborative network of Scotland-based library and information science (LIS) researchers and library and information professionals interested in maximising the value of LIS research. This work builds on the pilot RIVAL event that we hosted at Edinburgh Napier University on 11th July last year.

We’re using the funding to organise four one-day network events between July 2019 and July 2020.  A proportion of this will be used to cover expenses of network members to participate at the events: travel for all members as required; travel and accommodation for those travelling long distances, e.g. from the Highlands and Islands. An extensive online presence for RIVAL will allow others to benefit from the project.

The main goal of the project is to develop and strengthen relationships between LIS researchers within Scottish universities, and between these LIS researchers and practitioners in Scotland. We hope that in doing so the practitioner participants will increase their confidence and self-efficacy as research users and partners.

The project team members Hazel Hall and Bruce Ryan are based within the Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University, and supported by a Project Board that includes Ines Byrne of the National Library of Scotland, Martina McChrystal of the University of Glasgow, Paul McCloskey of the City of Edinburgh Council, Emily Prince of Westerhailes Education Centre, and Andy Taylor of the University of Edinburgh.

The first RIVAL event takes place on Thursday 11th July 2019 in the Horizon Suite at Edinburgh Napier University’s Sighthill campus. Full details will be made available soon. In the meantime, if you wish to register your interest in the event, please email Bruce Ryan at b.ryan@napier.ac.uk.

To find out more about RIVAL, please check the project web site, follow the @LisRival Twitter feed, and/or join us on Facebook.

Come and study in the wonderful Centre for Social Informatics at Edinburgh Napier University!

Click the graphic to see the full-size PDF.

At a turning point in my life, I applied to study for a part-time MSc in ‘Information Systems Development’ at Edinburgh Napier University. Apart from meeting my wife and becoming vegan, this is probably the best thing I’ve ever done. Now there are two PhD studentships available, so you can join me at the university’s Centre for Social Informatics. Continue reading

Initial lessons for Scottish PB (updated)

This is an update of a post from my first week in São Paulo, with input from my much better half. Mistakes of course are my fault, not hers.

  • If we don’t get PB right first time, people will lose confidence in it.
    • In this lesson, right can be replaced with good enough, because nothing is perfect, and Scotland is just learning to do PB.
    • This lesson means we need effective processes so that people know they have made the choices.
    • It also means that what is promised must be delivered near enough on time and near enough on budget.
      • This should happen in any context, no matter how much (or how little) money is involved.
      • We can argue about what near enough means at appropriate points.
  • Projects must be monitored as they proceed.
    • Also, due diligence/monitoring must happen at the end of project periods.
    • And that data must be analysed to see what is effective.
    • There should also be the possibility of discontinuing projects if it turns out that they are unlikely to be delivered, or if the benefits can be delivered in better ways, or if an urgent need arises for the money allocated to the project.
      • But this must be done transparently, and must not even appear to be party-political.
  • Don’t rely on revenue forecasts, because what is forecast may not materialise!
  • Annual cycles, i.e. projects that must be started and completed in a year, may be sub-optimal.
  • LeithChooses’ 2018 turnout (1000/20,000 = 5%) is good.
  • The current Scottish model of PB should have a deliberation stage before projects are formulated.
    • At the moment, PB process-runners (e.g.LeithChooses steering group) set themes, then invite projects.
    • The Brazilian model involves participatory deliberation on what the themes should be.
  • There should be some data gathered on who participates.
    • This is to show whether PB schemes are truly participatory, and whether they attract votes from people who need the services PB would offer.
  • Don’t build up an unhelpful bureaucracy around PB.
    • This may lead to clashes between parts of the bureaucracy that support different aims and objectives.
    • While spending money to create and perfect process is valid, wasting it on un-neccessary process is invalid, and puts people off the work.

Scottish Open Government Action Plan: launch event #OpenGovScot #OpenGovScotLAUNCH #OpenGov

I’ve been a mostly-quiet member of the Open Government Network Scotland for about two years. I’ve not done much, just quietly supported the idea that if we have access to facts and ideas, we can make more informed, and hence better, decisions. However, in December I spent a weekend proofreading a late draft of the new Open Government Action Plan, so I was delighted to be invited to this morning’s launch of the finished document.

As ever, this post is to consolidate and review my thinking and learning, as well as to share it. So errors and omissions in this account are mine.

Here is the agenda for the day. My tweets, thoughts and write-up follow it.

9:30 Official Launch (Livestreamed): Welcome speeches by, then Q&As with, co-chairs of Open Government Steering Group:

  • Cabinet Secretary for Government Business and Constitutional Relations, Michael Russell
  • Member of the Open Government Partnership International Steering Committee, Lucy McTernan
  • COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities) – Cllr Graham Houston, Vice President
10:30 Break
10:50 Workshop: Delivering the Action Plan in partnership and beyond

Group discussion questions: How do we work in partnership?
How do you want to be involved? How can government and civil society/third
sector work collaboratively together? How might this work? How do we take
this forward?
Table 1: financial transparency
Table 2: participation and public involvement
Table 3: access to information
Table 4: being more accountable
Table 5: transparency on Brexit

12:15 Closing remarks – Stephen Gallagher, Director of Local Government
12:30 Lunch and networking

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Write Now! (Again.)

(copied, with sincere thanks, from Frances Ryan’s blog post, then edited slightly)

Three years after Write Now! was launched, it’s back! This time around I’m the project lead, because I benefited from many of the sessions during the first year and so I was keen to get it going again. My colleague Frances Ryan has joined in on the project bit to add her expertise and experience, and to assist in setting up the writing sessions each week.

Write Now! is a series of writing sessions supported by Edinburgh Napier University’s Research and Innovation Office. The sessions are held at our Merchiston campus in the Triangle Café to re-create the experience of writing in a coffee shop.

The sessions are held on Wednesdays from 2.30-4.30 pm. There is no obligation to join us every Wednesday. However the sessions are held at the same time each week so that participants can add the on-going events to their calendars. This will essentially block time out in advance so that they can protect this valuable time slot from being taken over by other meetings. It’s a great way to prioritise writing time.

Write Now! is for research students and academic staff who want time for concentrated writing. This time can be used to work on thesis chapters, journal or conference submissions, research grants, or other academic writing.

The sessions are self-led and participants manage their own writing processes. On arrival, participants are given a voucher for a drink and snack before they start writing. At the end of the session, they are asked to fill out brief (anonymous) progress cards noting what their writing goal was (and whether they met that goal) and the approximate number of words they wrote during the session.

Join us every Wednesday through May (and maybe into June)!
Triangle Café (downstairs at Merchiston)
2.30-4.30 pm
Free drinks and snacks
And don’t forget your laptop (or pen and paper if you’re Old Skool like that!)