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DCC Beta Report 2016


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It is really phenomenal what you have achieved. Everything you have done has been meticulously documented, communicated and comprehensively evaluated – everything is put on the web for transparency. This doesn’t take five minutes. [Citizen]

I’ve been following the blog for roughly 3 years and have been hugely impressed by the work undertaken and open dialogue. I very much hope this is the beginning of something bigger and more exciting. [Citizen]

I feel the Beta Projects have the potential to keep important issues moving in times where there may not be funding available. [Councillor]


Contents 1. Executive Summary

4

2. Background and Context

7

3. Lessons and Insights

11

3.1 Key Outputs

11

3.1 Key Inputs

14

3.3 Key Benefits

16

3.4 Key Reflections

22

4. DCC Beta Recommendations

25

5. Conclusions

34


1.

Execuve summary Dublin City Council wishes to develop new approaches to innova on and the be er management of change within Dublin. To achieve this, DCC needs a consistent and cost-effec ve approach to trialling and experimen ng with new ideas, process and services while building learning from these experiments into future implementa on. Dublin City Council Beta (DCC Beta) aims to be the experimenta on and learning face of Dublin City Council. It is a model and process of trialling, assessing and implemen ng ways to improve the experience of life in the Capital and provides a plaorm through which individual "Beta Projects" can be implemented. It began as a City Architects trial in 2012, was corporately adopted in 2015, and has run for 3.5 years. During that me 14 Beta Projects were developed, 6 of which are currently being scaled and 1 is now 'out of beta' and being implemented by the relevant sec ons. The projects also supported the development and tes ng of the DCC Beta model and approach. DCC Beta has demonstrated a be er way of managing risk and our limited resources, has received a hugely posi ve recep on and has created a valuable brand for the City Council.

Inputs

Outputs

DCC Beta’s direct expenditure, not including staff costs, over the 3.5 year period was €17,500 (including VAT). The key inputs covered the following areas:

Beta Projects of various themes and scales were developed. DCC Beta has demonstrated evidence-based trialling and decision making within the City.

€17,500

Total expenditure

Staff me

DCC Beta brand and communicaon channels DCC Beta Report 2016 : 4

14

Beta Projects implemented

6

Beta Projects being scaled

A systemac methodolgy and innovaon ecosystem


Benefits The response to DCC Beta among DCC staff across mul ple sec ons has been very posi ve. DCC Beta has provided a cost effec ve way to manage risk by trying out new solu ons, building an internal working group, building an evidence base and winning support from ci zens, businesses and councillors.

4:1

Adversing Equivalent Value : Project Spend

6,000

Increasing producvity and staff morale

Followers on social media channels

Posive external percepon (ie cizens, businesses, councillors, media)

Recommendaons The recomenda ons cover staff, opera onal structure, monitoring and evalua on and prior sing projects.

Staff

Budgets

Align

A number of key staffing requirements have been idenfied. This includes developing a core staff for DCC Beta and more flexible teams that can deliver Beta Projects.

It is essenal that DCC Beta has core funding. The budget should be able to be scaled through various means such as co-financing, match funding and contracted services.

Be†er align DCC and DCC Beta. For example, senior management input on City Challenges and linking with Smart Dublin to further develop be†er collecon of evidence and debate about issues arising.

DCC Beta has developed and demonstrated a be†er process for making evidence-based decisions, the use of strategic design tools and methods, and an excellent overall return on investment. Based on the experiences of delivering DCC Beta to date, there is sufficient evidence to warrant invesng in and scaling up the approach within Dublin City Council. DCC Beta Report 2016 : 5


DCC Beta Report 2016 : 6


2. Background and context

Dublin City Council (DCC) is facing significant challenges. These challenges include how to: 1. deliver core services while at the same time meet growing demands on service capacity and quality 2. optimise the use of existing assets 3. enhance staff morale and our ability to recruit the right people 4. achieve DCC’s vision for Dublin DCC must meet these challenges while at the same time negotiating the interests of citizens, businesses, elected councillors and central government. Because of this, DCC wishes to find a way to easily and freely discuss ideas, to innovate and better manage change. To achieve this Dublin City Council needs to able to experiment and then learn from those experiments which then inform the final project delivery.

DCC Beta With this in mind, DCC Beta was developed as a live mechanism for trialling, assessing and implementing ways to improve the experience of life in the Capital. DCC Beta set out to act as the experimentation and learning face of Dublin City Council. DCC Beta began as a City Architects ‘10% innovation time’ staff project in 2012, and later became a full City Architects project in 2014. In January 2015 it was formalised at Dublin City Council corporate level.

Beta Projects DCC Beta provides the platform through which a number of individual “Beta Projects” can be delivered. These Beta Projects act as trials and experiments to explore

key issues that DCC is seeking to understand, enabling us to better learn and develop exemplar solutions that can be implemented across the city.

‘Beta’ The phrase “in beta” is often used in the design and digital industry to describe a piece of work that is in early stages of development and is being released early so that it can benefit from some real-world testing and feedback. The concept of the innovation ecosystem was therefore established as “Dublin City Council Beta” or “DCC Beta”. Also, rather than rely on phrases such as “trial”, “prototype” or “pilot”, the individual projects managed or supported by DCC Beta are called “Beta Projects”. This enables us to maintain a consistent brand (ethos and visual identiy) that makes clear that something is an experiment and not an established policy. It also conveys that it will follow an associated systematic methodology for which the ultimate aim is implementation of evidence-based good ideas. This protects the City Council while Beta Projects are being delivered but also provides staff with the freedom to experiment.

Principles of the DCC Beta approach The challenges identified by DCC Beta are not unique to Dublin City or Dublin City Council as cities all over the world are grappling with similar issues. A number of existing ‘city innovation’ and ‘co-creation’ platforms here and in other cities focus on suggestions from citizens that are submitted to (or through) local government for further development.

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 7


These solutions typically require an additional ‘pressure source’ such as the personal interest of a directlyelected mayor or very senior staff member to be implemented. DCC Beta takes a different approach in that it seeks to initially develop an ‘innovation ecosystem’ within Dublin City Council which would enable staff to become accustomed to the idea of experimentation and evidence-based learning within the council. This will be supplemented at a later date by greater levels of citizen and business involvement. A key aspect of DCC Beta is that it gives staff a way of approaching a problem differently than they would do for “business as usual” by providing staff with the capacity and clear roadmap to innovate in a controlled manner. This overcomes resistance or barriers to change and ensures the resilience of the solutions that are developed.

Characteristics of Beta Projects 1. Action-based and Evidence-based - Demonstrate by quickly creating a trial and then measuring results to test assumptions. 2. Lean Resourcing - Trial only for as long as is required to test assumptions. Only make solutions ‘as big’ as they need to be to test the idea. 3. Reversible and Flexible - Solutions should be designed to allow for learning and change. 4. Sustainable and Resilient - Create a solution that is able to sustain itself over time, and is also resilient to shocks. 5. Scalable or Transferable - Consider how to widen the return on any investment or use of an asset.

Questions explored by DCC Beta Through DCC Beta, Can Dublin City Council.... 1. Make Dublin City Council and Dublin City thrive not just survive? 2. Find a way to change much, much, faster as a City…thinking in decades and centuries, but changing over months and years? 3. Develop more transparent, evidence-based, decision-making processes – which enable citizens to have much greater input into their city? 4. Tap into the diverse wealth of local and expert knowledge that exists outside Dublin City Council – whether individual citizens or other organisations? 5. Develop a clear system to enable us to quickly and efficiently progress our internal work practices and business models, to better use our existing assets, and to diversify the City Council’s income streams? 6. Better demonstrate the huge value of the public sector? 7. Improve the capacity of staff to innovate and provide them the capacity and roadmap to do so in a controlled environment? 8. Improve the2016 systematic accumulation of internal knowledge which can be shared efficiently across DCC Beta Report :8 innovative projects and teams?


DCC Beta Report 2016 : 9


DCC Beta Report 2016 : 10


3. Lessons and insights

This Report provides a formal review of DCC Beta to date. The Report presents an overview of the process, key outcomes, findings and recommendations from the delivery of DCC Beta. The focus is on the overall delivery of DCC Beta rather than on the individual Beta Projects. In addition to this, the Report seeks to provide a baseline to enable and assess future development as well as providing a resource for others considering developing a public sector innovation lab or equivalent.

The DCC Beta approach has shown that it is possible to temporarily implement projects in the city in order to support pre-implementation evaluation, better public engagement and to better manage risk.

3.1 Key Outputs

This is different to the traditional approach whereby every eventuality is attempted to be worked out in advance. A key risk associated with this traditional approach is that the learning gained after any delays or failures will typically be more expensive than if that learning had occurred during a small-scale trial.

Between 2012 and 2016 (3.5 years), Beta Projects of various themes and scales were developed. DCC Beta has demonstrated a path to creating a culture of evidence-based trialling and decision making within the City Council, and provides a better platform for staff to solve challenges or explore opportunities. During this period DCC Beta has: 1. Developed and tested an initial process for trialling and experimenting with new and innovative projects that can be implemented by Dublin City Council. 2. Implemented 14 Beta Projects, 6 of which are currently at various stages of scaling by different sections of the Council. 3. One Beta Project is now ‘out of beta’ and being deployed by Dublin City Council. 4. Developed a brand with minimal investment that is now recognised by many Dublin citizens and by public sector innovation experts internationally. 5. Developed a set of qualitative and quantitative metrics for monitoring and evaluating Beta Projects. 6. Successfully secured corporate adoption of the DCC Beta approach.

DCC Beta has enabled a process of continual learning, reflection and evaluation which result in better insights and data on which a later project brief, or a tender, can be based. By creating new and tangible interfaces between DCC and its stakeholders, every Beta Project has demonstrated the DCC commitment to listen, engage, assess and to change. Report Cards of two of the individual Beta Projects can be viewed online at www.dccbeta.ie. Extracts from some of these Report Cards are presented on the following pages.

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 11


Recommendations Locations  for  hangars   Siting  of  Hangars   A  radio  discussion  on  Matt  Cooper’s  Today  FM  show  about  this  particular  Beta  Project  very  much  focussed  on  the   question  of  hangar  location.  (You  can  listen  from  11.50  for  4mins  with  Conor  Faughnan  representing  the   Automobile  Association  and  Shane  Foran  representing  the  Galway  Cycling  Campaign.)   “The  bike  hangars  are  not  a  bad  idea...but  why  take  a  parking  space?  Are  the  people  behind  this  actually   taking  up  a  parking  space,  almost  in  an  act  of  spite?  It  is  not  necessary  to  displace  a  car  space  to  do  it.”   “Is  there  potential  for  taking  lots  of  vacant  buildings  and  setting  them  up  as  large  bicycle  shelters?”   There  is  no  reason  as  to  why  hangars  could  not  be  pavement-­‐mounted  instead  of  carriageway-­‐mounted,  other   than  considering  the  width  of  the  local  pavements  and  convenience  for  people  walking,  and  also  local   placemaking  (eg  a  portion  of  wider  pavement  might  provide  some  other  local  community  resource  such  as   accommodating  a  bench  or  tree).    

   

 

Dublin City  Council  Beta  Projects  

(Example of  Bike  hangars  in   Rotterdam  which  can  be  found   both  on  pavements  and  on   carriageways,  depending  on  the   local  conditions  –  such  as  the  local   pavement  widths  being  wide     enough.)  

Report Card:   Bike  Hangar  

 

One of  the  primary  reasons  for  people  cycling  is  convenience,  and  so  one  assumption  being  tested  by  this  trial  was   that  the  hangar  would  only  be  considered  useful  by  participants  if  it  was  close  to  where  they  lived.  (Hangars  add   security  for  bicycles,  and  also  keeps  them  out  of  the  elements,  but  also  can  add  2-­‐3  minutes  by  the  time  users   walk  to  the  hangar,  unlock  the  hangar,  unlock  their  bicycle,  and  then  relock  the  hangar…and  the  same  on  their   return.  Adding  a  few  minutes  to  a  trip  may  not  sound  like  much,  but  consider  that  the  average  Dublin  Bike  trip  is   only  16  minutes  long,  or  that  a  10  minute  walk  to  a  shop  would  only  be  about  a  3 -­‐4  minute  cycle.)   Considering  the  residential  function  (ie  it  needs  to  be  near  your  home  if  it  is  to  be  a  useful  solution  at  all)  and  the   generally  low-­‐density  nature  of  Dublin’s  residential  (including  city  centre)  areas,  it  would  be  highly  unlikely  that   high-­‐density  parking  solutions  in  vacant  buildings  would  be  a  scalable  solution  to  any  degree.   Useful  Catchment  Area   Of  the  6  participants,  3  of  them  lived  15m  away,  2  of  them  lived  50m  away,  and  1  lived  125m  away.  125m  equates   to  a  1½    minute  walk  (plus  a  couple  of  minutes  for  unlocking  as  described  above)  and  it  is  interesting  that  that   particular  trial  participant  commented  that…   “I  used  the  bike  hanger  intermittently  in  the  time  it  was  on  the  street.  It  was  about  100m  from  my  front   door  but  in  the  wrong  direction  from  where  I  would  normally  be  heading,  on  wet  winter's  morning  this   feels  much  further.  I  mostly  used  the  hanger  when  I  was  not  using  the  bike  for  a  few  days.  If  it  was  closer   to  the  house  I  would  definitely  use  it  daily.”  [trial  participant]   Whilst  bearing  in  mind  that  it’s  a  single  voice,  this  might  begin  to  inform  discussion  around  a  maximum  useful   distance  for  locating  a  residential  bike  hangar  from  a  keyholder.  It  would  also  match  Hackney  Borough  Council’s   (London)  policy  of  prioritising  a  hangar  to  residents  within  100m  of  the  hangar.     Hangar  Details:   Opening/Closing  the  Lid:     The  hangar  supplier  warned  us  that  the  lid  would  be  stiff  to  begin  with,  and  would  then  become  easier  to   use.  One  of  the  participant’s  comments  reflects  that…  

 

15.1.15: First  use  today,  very  straightforward  to  use.  I  found  I  needed  the  strength  of  my  2  arms  to  pull   hangar  down  to  close  so  it  was  convenient  to  be  able  to  lean  my  bike  on  the  adjacent  wall  behind  me   while  doing  so.    

#BikeHangarBeta

#BikeHangarBeta Report  Card  1.1    (Iteration.ReportCardVersion)  

#BikeHangarBeta Report  Card  1.1    (BetaProjectIteration.ReportCardVersion)  

Page 4  of  16  

Trial Description  

           

Proposition:   In  a  similar  way  that  businesses  can  apply  to  put  tables  and  chairs  on  the   pavement,  might  we  also  enable  them  to  apply  to  use  car  parking  spaces   in   a   similar   way?   This   idea   is   called   a   “parklet”   and   this   Beta   Project   is   exploring  whether  Dublin  City  should  develop  a  “parklets”  policy.   Beta  Project  Stage   This  Beta  Project  is  at  the  policy  trial  stage,  and  so  was  focussed  on   whether  we  should  have  a  citywide  policy,  rather  than  how  we  might   deliver  such  a  policy.  

     

 

Dublin City  Council  Beta  Projects    

 

Report Card:     Street  Parklet,  Iteration  2  

Trial Size/Extent:  1  parklet,  in  1  parking  bay.    

     

Trial Period  &  Duration:  End  May  2015  –  Start  Sept  2015,  3  months.   Cost:  This  trial  cost  €4700  including  full  design,  fabrication,  installation  and   removal  by  Dublin  City  Council’s  Joinery  Workshop.  The  parklet  element   itself  was  designed  for  reuse  if  further  trials  are  required.   Social  media  results:  Search  #StreetParkletBeta    

 

Trial Description:     A   first   iteration   of   this   concept   was   originally   trialled   on   Capel   Street   outside  the  Black  Sheep  pub  for  a  period  of  2  weeks.     Following   up   on   the   outcomes   from   that   first   trial,   this   second   iteration   was   temporarily   installed   on   South   William   Street   in   one   of   the   parking   bays   next   to   Clement   &   Pekoe   café.     It   helped   people   visualise   the   idea,   and  sit,  chat  and  enjoy  the  street.  Importantly  it  also  helps  us  to  better  see   what  practical  issues  or  opportunities  might  arise  and  inform  any  possible   parklet  policy.   Largely   fabricated   offsite,   it   took   approximately   2   hours   to   erect   and   1   hour   to   dismantle,   and   was   both   installed   and   removed   early   on   Sunday   mornings  in  order  to  minimise  impact  on  passersby  or  businesses.  

 

We teamed   up   with   DublinTown   in   relation   to   liaising   with   the   various   neighbouring  businesses.     The  nearby  Clement  &  Pekoe  café  were  linked  with  the  parklet  and  swept   it  in  the  mornings  and  watered  the  plants  as  necessary.     Location:  Here  on  South  William  Street,  Dublin  2.     This  location  was  chosen  partly  as  the  first  iteration  of  this  trial  required  a   larger  volume  of  feedback  from  a  busier  location.  

#StreetParkletBeta

The nearest  parking  space  to  the  Clement  &  Pekoe  café  was  still  about  10m   away  from  their  business,  and  was  outside  another  business  called  the   Hideout  –  a  BYOB  pool  and  snooker  hall.  

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 12 #StreetparkletBeta Report  Card  2.1    (Iteration.ReportCardVersion)  

Appendix 1:  The  metrics  measured,  and  results.      

Appendix 2:  Photos  and  video  of  the  trial  during  the  period. #StreetparkletBeta  Report  Card  2.1    (Iteration.ReportCardVersion)  

                                       Page  2  of  19    


Wheel-­‐holder

23.1.15: I'm  finding  that  i  only  need  one  hand  to  close  it  now,  not  sure  whether  that's  down  to  me  getting   more  used  to  it  or  the  mechanism  becoming  less  rigid  with  use/warmth  or  a  bit  of  both!      

Participants mentioned  that  they  had  to  use  two  hands  to  both  open  and  close  the  lid,  and  so  needed  to   meanwhile  lean  their  bicycle  nearby.  Perhaps  adding  a  wheel-­‐holder  to  the  hangars  (similar  to  the  below   street  bicycle  pump)  would  be  a  useful  addition.  

This, combined  with  the  height  that  the  lid  rises  to  when  open,  likely  may  imply  that  children,  or  the   elderly,  or  those  with  some  physical  disabilities,  may  not  be  suitable  keyholders.     “The  lid  isn't  the  easiest  to  lift  (no  problem  for  me  but  may  be  for  others)”  [Trial  Participant]     “May  be  slightly  heavy  for  kids/  older  people  to  lift  the  door.”  [Trial  Participant]   “Here's  a  safer  (and  cheaper  version  per  bike)  than  the  bike  Hangar  which  has  fundamental  flaws,  most   obviously  a  heavy  door  which  could  smash  someone's  head  if  it  falls  on  them!  I  hope  you  DO  trial  safer   designs,  and  quick,  before  a  child  gets  their  head  injured  or  fingers  trapped  by  the  door  on  a  Cycle   Hangar.”  

 

Reflective Markings  

Cargo  Bicycles:    

As a  cheap  and  simple  way  to  address  night-­‐time  visibility  concerns,  we  applied  additional  reflective   stickers  to  the  hangar  on  both  of  the  short  sides,  and  also  on  the  long  side  facing  the  roadway  (as  it  was   located  opposite  a  T-­‐junction).    

One of  the  aspects  that  we  wanted  to  explore  was  cargo  bikes,  and  whether  bicycle  hangars  might  be  linked  with   residential  storage  of  cargo  bikes  as  they  are  much  larger,  and  tend  to  cost  multiples  (eg  €1,500-­‐€4,000  new)  of  a   ‘standard’  bicycle.  We  met  with  a  cargo  bike  owner  and  took  the  below  photos.  Note:  that  particular  cargo  bike  is   quite  a  short  one,  compared  to  many  of  the  options  available.    

An alternative  solution  would  be  to  install  onstreet  bollards  on  both  sides,  but  this  would;  add  to  the  per-­‐ hangar  cost  of  any  scaled  solution,  increase  street  clutter  against  Dublin  City’s  public  realm  strategy,  and   would  also  reduce  the  flexibility  of  the  relocation  and  redeployment  of  hangars  as  required.    

Colour

Cargo  bike  in  parallel  with  hangar.    (Unlikely  to  fit,  and/or  be  easy  to   manoeuvre  into  required  position).  

“Good idea  but  very  ugly  looking.  Nice  idea  though!”   “No  uglier  than  a  van  parked  in  the  same  spot.”  [as  a  response  to  the  above  comment]  

Cargo  bike  to  side  of  hangar.   (Unlikely  to  fit,  or  be  easy  to   manoeuvre  into  required  position).  

Cargo  bike  at  45  degrees  to  hangar.  

The  above  particular  bicycle  hangar  was  designed  to  hold  6  bicycles  rather  than  cargo  bicycles,  and  that’s  reflected   in  the  above  first  two  photos  (would  not  fit).  Therefore  specialist  cargo  bike  hangars  would  be  required.  We’re  not   aware  of  any  commercially-­‐available  products  on  the  market  (there  have  been  some  prototype  solutions),  and  it   would  appear  to  still  be  an  emerging  solution  in  cycling  nations  such  as  the  Netherlands  and  Denmark.  

It would  be  simple  to  trial  different  colours.  Not  so  simple,  but  in  theory,  possible,  would  be  to  specify   materials  or  hangar  shapes.   Lighting   When  we  were  showing  others  how  to  use  the  hangar  (in  the  dark  evenings),  we  noticed  that  due  to  a   combination  of  the  overhanging  lid  (when  open)  plus  the  location  of  the  street  lights  and  a  nearby  tree,   that  it  could  be  quite  dark  inside  the  bike  hangar,  which  sometimes  made  locking/unlocking  a  bicycle  lock   slightly  difficult.  A  trial  also  participant  noted  the  same  “Can  be  a  little  dark  in  the  evenings  to  see  what  is   what.”    

Another solution  might  be  to  provide  cargo  bike  parking  alongside  or  at  an  angle  (as  photo  3  above)  to  hangars,   and  there  are  some  examples  below  of  cargo  bike  parking  options,  ranging  from  low-­‐tech  steel  hoops  to  high-­‐tech   RFID-­‐card  enabled  solutions.  

Proximity to  street  lighting  should  be  considered,  or  possibly  some  form  of  off-­‐grid  solar-­‐powered  light   incorporated  into  the  hangar  might  be  of  benefit.   Bin  

Vesko ‘parking  slab’  

It’s unclear  whether  this  was  a  local  peculiarity  of  the  exact  location,  so  a  larger  trial,  or  input  from  the  UK   councils  who  have  implemented  bike  hangars,  might  shed  more  light.    

Page 5  of  16  

Metrics –  Appendix  1    

Copenhagenize  Bar  

#BikeHangarBeta Report  Card  1.1    (Iteration.ReportCardVersion)  

Page 6  of  16  

Recommendations Iteration  1  Report  Card  

Dublin City  Council  costs    

Via Niels  Hoe  

Future trials  could  consider  further  exploring  this  particular  aspect.      

One solution  might  be  to  consider  providing  a  street  bin  reasonably  close  to  a  hangar  to  make  it  as  simple   as  possible  for  keyholders  to  easily  dispose  of  any  windblown  litter  that  might  become  trapped  inside   their  hangar.  

Via Niels  Hoe  

Many cargo  bicycles  now  also  offer  an  electric-­‐assist  option.  However,  most  of  them  have  removable  batteries,   and  so  could  be  charged  from  home  whilst  the  bicycle  is  stored  on  the  street.  Therefore  the  provision  of  onstreet   charging  options  would  not  be  required.  

It was  never  particularly  noticeable  from  outside  the  hangar,  only  when  the  lid  was  raised.  However,  we   can  imagine  that  it  could  be  a  nuisance  to  the  users  of  a  hangar.    

#BikeHangarBeta Report  Card  1.1    (Iteration.ReportCardVersion)  

Litter was  often  blown  under  the  sides  of  the  hangar  and  got  caught.  Once  there,  it  won’t  be  picked  up  by   Dublin  City  Council’s  street  sweeping  schedules  (nor  would  they  have  a  key  to  open  a  hangar)  and  so  may   need  some  other  solution.    

Note: The  various  recommendations  from  the  1st  Iteration  Report  Card  have  not  been  repeated  here.    

This trial  cost  Dublin  City  Council  €4,700  with  design,  fabrication  (inhouse  in  our  joinery  workshop),   installation  and  removal  being  carried  out  by  Dublin  City  Council’s  Civic  Maintenance  section.       Demand  For  

Parklet Locations  

An automated  counter  was  mounted  on  the  pole  next  to  the  parklet,  and  counted  visitors  to  the  parklet.    

There was  a  degree  of  tension  in  terms  of  siting  the  parklet.  Many  people  liked  that  it  didn’t  seem  to  be   connected  to  any  particular  commercial  organisation  –  it  was  simply  city  seating.  Others  would  have  preferred  it   to  have  felt  ‘connected’  to  somewhere.   “How  come  it  isn't  in  front  of  Clement  &  Pekoe  though?”  

The parklet  was  visited  an  average  of  3,650  per  month,  or  approximately  12,500  times  over  the  entire  15   week  trial  duration.  

“This is  a  fabulous  idea.  We  definitely  need  more  seating  to  allow  people  to  relax  and  just  enjoy  the  City.   Well  done!”   It  would  probably  be  fair  to  say  that  the  linked  business  –  Clement  &  Pekoe  café  –  didn’t  feel  as  much  of  a   connection  to  ‘their’  parklet  as  the  Black  Sheep  had  in  the  1st  iteration  of  this  trial  on  Capel  Street.  There’s  a  high   chance  that  this  was  due  to  the  parklet’s  slight  remove  from  the  business  in  this  case.  This  was  due  to  their  not   being  any  parking  space  directly  in  front  of  the  business.     The  below  photos  are  taken  from  the  external  seating  area  of  Clement  &  Pekoe,  with  the  parklet  to  the  left  hand   side  –  which  is  the  nearest  parking  space  (notwithstanding  the  cars/vans  parked  on  the  nearside  of  the  below   photos).  

Daily  usage  averaged  at  120  visits  per  day  over  the  entire  trial  period.  It  ranged  from  90-­‐180  visits  per   day,  with  the  highest  usage  on  Saturdays.  

This  could  suggest  three  items:   1. 2. 3.

The number  of  ‘suitable’  businesses  and  who  also  have  a  parking  space  more-­‐or-­‐less  directly  outside  their   property  will  likely  reduce  the  scalability  of  this  concept.     Perhaps  a  parklets  policy  could  find  a  way  to  consider  spaces  which  are  not  pre-­‐established  parking  spaces.   There  is  a  likely  a  play-­‐off  between  creating  a  space  that  feels  highly  active  and  animated,  and  a  space  that   feels  entirely  non-­‐commercial.  (San  Francisco’s  parklet  policy  is  such  that  there  is  a  commercial  sponsor,  but   that  it  is  technically  public  space  and  is  to  feel  as  such  –  for  example  any  parklet  furniture  cannot  match  that   used  by  the  business.)  

Car Parking   “Whilst  I  agree  they  would  be  beneficial  with  allowing  the  interaction  of  individuals  with  the  City  –  you   are  further  reducing  the  already  restricted  availability  of  parking  spaces  in  the  city  centre.  And  while  one   business  might  be  happy  to  pay  costs,  it  would  be  at  the  expense  of  other  businesses  in  the  area?”    

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 13

“Cos parking  spaces  aren't  already  in  short  supply  around  that  area”   “So  many  spaces,  but  still  not  enough  for  the  number  of  cars.”       #StreetparkletBeta  Report  Card  2.1    (Iteration.ReportCardVersion)  

                                       Page  9  of  19    

#StreetparkletBeta Report  Card  2.1    (Iteration.ReportCardVersion)  

                                       Page  4  of  19    


3.2 Inputs Expenditure DCC Beta’s direct expenditure, not including staff costs, over the 3.5 year period was €17,500 (including VAT). The expenditure covered the following areas: • Projects: €14,000 • DCC Beta branding items: €1,500 • General Administration: €2,000 Staff costs have not been included due to difficulty to estimate accurately. This is because much of the input was on a part-time basis and highly variable. Much of the management and development time was undertaken outside of normal working hours including evenings and weekends.

Staff Time The Beta Project approach proved to be a very efficient use of staff time as the methodology tends to ensure lots of “small wins” throughout each of the Beta Project stages. These small wins provide the basis of future projects. This is a different approach to the traditional “big-bang” approach to launching projects. Staff that participated in Beta Projects cited a number of positive impacts on their work practices. “It has been the most productive spend of my time all year.” [DCC staff member] “It offers a space to do something new, and a framework for how to go about doing it. This is

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 14

invaluable when trying new things because it saves a huge amount of time. You don’t end up searching for weeks for the people you need to get in touch with. This is done through the Beta.” [DCC staff member] The staff allocation for each Beta Project varied depending on the nature and scale of the project. The following estimates of staff allocation are based on an average across all thee previous projects. 1. Project Creation - 5 days 2. Administration - 1 day per month minimum (queries, feedback, measurements). 3. Producing reports cards - 4 days (varies due to nature of trial) Other key staff time allocation that DCC Beta does not have sufficient experience yet to estimate include Policy Decisions, Corporate Delivery Model, Implementation. The two most significant staffing issues for DCC Beta include: 1. DCC Beta staff finding the time required to develop the DCC Beta platform, concept and culture within DCC and to provide the support to DCC staff and their sections when developing Beta Projects. 2. Individual staff being able to find consistent time to develop their Beta Project(s). Generally the amount of time required is low but with an initial time allocation for building capacity in departments and sections and until they become accustomed to the new approach.


Brand and communications It is important to have a consistent brand (ethos and visual identity) which makes clear that a Beta Project is an experimentation and not existing policy. This separation from existing policy or regular projects provides the Beta Project teams with breathing room and freedom to develop and protects the City Council from the uncertainty of trials and buffering it from any failures. For a very small investment to date, multiple elements of an internal innovation ecosystem have been created such as a recognised brand, methodology and support networks (both internal and external).

An additional ‘face’ has been created that Council can avail of when undertaking trials.

• Dublin City Council (DCC) Corporately-adopted policy and execution.

• Dublin City Council Beta (DCC Beta) Uncertainty, trialling and learning. Both staff and citizens noted that the new approach has given Dublin City Council a fresh and positive image, “bringing it into the 21st Century” and contributions from citizens, members of the business community and also elected representatives has been very enthusiastic and supportive.

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 15


3.3 Key benefits Positive impacts on DCC Staff The DCC Beta approach recognises that staff are best placed to bring solutions to the problems that they know intimately, combined with the creativity of input of individuals both internal and external to the organisation. The response to DCC Beta among DCC staff across multiple sections has been very positive. See example quotes on page opposite. Staff cited a number of positive impacts on their own work such as positive views on:

• the new approach increasing productivity. • own work practices and an ability to propose new ideas. • on DCC as a organisation and how it facilitates networking among staff. • how DCC is interacting and interfacing with citizens. DCC staff also noted that being involved with a Beta Project often changed how they have approached their ‘core’ workload. Therefore, remaining in their home section, they are more likely to naturally and incrementally introduce the approach of a ‘bias towards action’, experimentation and evidence-based learning to their colleagues and section on an everyday basis.

organisations trying to develop similar initiatives. DCC Beta has been contacted by people from Brazil, Holland, across the UK, Colombia, Sweden, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland, Kenya, across the US, Canada and Denmark. The contributions from Dublin citizens, members of the business community and elected representatives on the DCC Beta blog has been overwhelmingly enthusiastic and supportive. As of December 2015, DCC Beta gained:

• 6,000 followers on various social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) • over 700,000 impressions over the 3.5 year period • visitors from over 100 countries (25% of all visits from outside of Ireland) To date, traditional media coverage has been very positive. Some examples include: “Globo TV has 60 million viewers in Brazil, and Dublin was chosen specifically because of the work of Beta Projects. “We usually travel abroad to make three or four television reports in one city. This time because of Dublin City Council’s Beta Project, we chose Dublin,” said Cassia Kuriyama, a journalist with the TV station.” [Evening Herald]

Traditional and social media coverage

“Dublin City Beta is a progressive initiative from the City Council to trial run small ideas for public feedback in a given area of the city, with a view to serving different areas needs whilst testing projects for a wider use across Dublin City. Beta is an encouragingly forward-thinking endeavour.” [Totally Dublin]

There has been high level of interest in the DCC Beta concept from other countries and cities. This has resulted in invites to speak at events, participation in EU projects, requests for information from other

“Dublin City Council’s Beta Project are demonstrating how people can have their say in how the capital presents itself, which in turn can inspire people in other towns and cities.” [TheJournal.ie]

These are some of the conditions under which long-term culture-change is generally best established.

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 16


“ “ “

DCC Beta has helped define my role as an engineer within DCC. It encouraged me to propose new ideas and question the existing way of doing things which should be part of what an engineer does on a daily basis. [DCC staff member]

I see one of the key benefits being providing an outlet for staff creativity and helping with staff morale. [DCC senior management staff member]

It put me in touch with all the stakeholders that would be involved in such a project, and strengthened working relationships in that regard. [DCC staff member]

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 17


“ “ “

Beta allows staff to come up with novel ways of doing things and encourages inter-departmental solutions. The informal approach encourages feedback from the public and allows for projects to be tested without having to commit. [DCC staff member]

The whole concept of the Beta Projects is a very positive inventive way to encourage innovation and risk reduced planning for any city. The idea that there is a location to trial new ideas, to encourage new ideas and then to remove some / most of the risk involved in the funding of the project must be seen as the way forward for any proactive city trying to meet the needs of its citizens. [DCC staff member]

It’s a great way of trialling new ideas to get an idea of the issues involved in up-scaling. It could be done for a whole range of projects to encourage support at a local level before rolling out the larger projects.You could see it as a kind of risk management section. It could be used for many larger engineering projects for which there may be local opposition. [DCC staff member]

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 18


DCC Beta has been contacted by staff in seven other local authorities in Ireland with queries about developing a Beta approach in their organsation. Additionally, establishing ‘Beta’ working relationships with business organisations such as Dublin Town have been very useful. One method for approximating a financial value of media coverage is to use the advertising value equivalent (AEV). This provides a value on what would it have cost to purchase advertising of an equivalent print size and audience coverage. DCC Beta and the projects delivered created a print media advertising value equivalent of €44,000 in the final 12 months up to September 2015. To put that in context, DCC Beta directly spent €11,500 on projects during the same period – giving a 4:1 ratio. This advertising value equivalent was only measured for the final twelve months but we can assume an equivalent ratio from end of year one.

Reducing Risk DCC Beta has provided a cost effective way to manage risk by trying out new solutions, building an evidence base and winning support from stakeholders. This improves decision-making and resource allocation. The key aspects of the DCC Beta approach that helps this includes: 1. thinking big, but starting small. 2. ensuring that trials are both flexible to change and also easily removable.

3. seeking early input and feedback (both internal and external to the organisation). 4. giving clear signals that it’s an idea or project “in beta”. Staff cited a number of ways that DCC Beta helped with reducing risk. For example, see page opposite.

Improving morale, retaining and attracting talent The significant resource constraints and challenges that DCC face such as budget cuts, increasing workload and higher citizen expectations demands that DCC attracts and retains the best talent and provides creative opportunities for staff development. Staff cited a number of ways in which the DCC Beta approach could help towards achieving this. 1. Retain our best talent. “I see one of the key benefits being providing an outlet for staff creativity and helping with staff morale.” [DCC senior management staff member] 2. Be able to recruit great new talent when required. “One of the most inspiring things that I have seen in years.” [DCC senior management staff member] “It showed me that we have staff willing to go the extra mile and also that the institution is not always able to respond to that opportunity and that in some ways it can be seen as a threat or noncore distraction.” [DCC staff member]

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 19


Improving DCC Beta’s Metabolism While total length of time would vary widely between Beta Projects because of different scales of project and levels of complexity, what should be measured is the average length of time required between the key steps and decision stages. One useful metric to measure the success of DCC Beta is the speed at which it helps ideas to progress from conception to implementation. This can be referred to as the “Metabolism”. It is well understood that innovation in the public sector can be a time consuming process. For example, Christian Bason (CEO of Danish Design Centre, former head of MindLab) stated that in Denmark “it takes proven, evidence-based, solutions 17 years to spread across the healthcare system”.

1. Project Suggestion to Prioritisation Assessment No regular figures for this. 2. Prioritised Project to Project onstreet - 0-12 months, to date averaging about 3 months. 3. Project end to Project removal - Initially about 6 months, now reduced to 0-1 months. 4. Project end to Report Card - 1-9 months, now averaging about 3 months. 5. Report Card to Decision => Persevere in learning 0-3 months 6. Persevere Decision to Next Iteration Project - 3-12 months, averaging 6 months

Beta Projects run through a series of pre-defined stages and steps and the list opposite gives a sense of the approximate current ‘Beta Project metabolism’ and could provide a baseline against which we might attempt to assess future progress.

7. Report Card to Decision => Formalise as Policy Two projects at this stage so far – 12 months

While there is no comparable figure for pre DCC Beta project timeframes, the evidence from staff suggests that the new approach is seen to be faster.

9. Business Model Trial end to Out Of Beta - 15 months.

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 20

8. Policy to Business Model Trial - Only one project at this stage so far – 9 months.


“ “ “

The trialling of a possible solution at low cost initially to see if it would be successful. If it is not successful, then little money has been wasted and it could point the way to a successful solution. [DCC staff member]

Greater communication and synergy between DCC sections through something like the Beta project results in an increased appreciation of the role of DCC as provider of public services; within sections it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. [DCC staff member]

Beta also allowed me to connect with staff with whom I would not normally come in contact. This developed my understanding of how DCC works and what other services we provide. [DCC staff member]

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 21


3.4 Key reflections In addition to the above evaluation of inputs, outputs and impact, this section presents some key reflections on the wider role and process of DCC Beta. It is important to note that the Beta Projects to date also supported the development and testing of the DCC Beta model and approach.

DCC Beta as an innovation ecosystem Experiences gained from the delivery of DCC Beta to date suggests that there are six overarching elements required for a healthy DCC Beta ecosystem:

• • • • • •

Permissions Purse (Finance) People Process (“Beta Projects”) Place Partners

There also need to be specific strengths developed in these key areas:

• • • •

Visioning – thinking, discussing, prioritising Trialling – trial design, prototyping Assessing – feedback, measuring, reporting Implementing – policy-making, business models

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 22

Key stages Based on the experience of issues that emerged during the development of a Beta Project, the stages outlined in the image on the page opposite emerged as useful. This approach greatly simplifies the process, speeds up our metabolism, and allows for much greater citizen input. These stages also allow DCC Beta to focus discussion and learning on single stages and to achieve a series of ‘small wins’ at multiple stages rather than expecting a ‘big win’. This process can be faster as well as more transparent and inclusive compared to current approaches to developing projects. During the initial implementation of DCC Beta, a number of opportunities and stumbling blocks emerged. When stumbling blocks were encountered potential solutions and or workarounds were developed or adopted from elsewhere.


DCC Beta Report 2016 : 23


DCC Beta Report 2016 : 24


4. DCC Beta

Recommendations Based on the experiences of delivering DCC Beta to date, there is sufficient evidence to warrant investing in and scaling up the approach within DCC. This section outlines a number of key recommendations.

Staff A number of key staffing requirements for DCC Beta have been identified. This includes developing a core staff for DCC Beta and more flexible teams that can deliver Beta Projects. Three different “staff types” have been identified as important for the overall delivery of DCC Beta.

and are open to fresh thinking and experimentation. This group represents ‘the right mindset’ and has a ‘can do’ attitude rather than ‘the right grade’. However this group also has a good understanding of the constraints and opportunities to working in local government.

1. DCC Beta Lead (core staff) 2. DCC Beta Support 3. Beta Project Champion

• Required: A group of Beta Support has already been developed with representatives in most sections of DCC. A structured approval mechanism for staff input is required. There are some DCC precedents for allowing this but any potential solutions should first be trialled with full input from relevant management and staff.

1. DCC Beta Lead (core staff)

3. Beta Project Champion

• Role: leading and directing the ‘Beta’ concept, developing the concept and backend of DCC Beta and Beta Projects, demonstrating the lean concept and evidence-based decision making, using Beta Projects as prototype tools for learning and demonstration, internal and external communications, key networking and oversight of all projects underway. • Type: a specialist role requiring an understanding of design processes, a startup mentality, an understanding of political, technical, social and business models.

2. DCC Beta Support • Role: Individual Beta Projects interact and overlap with multiple sections in DCC and this requires a network of ‘go to’ staff.

• Role: Each Beta Project is championed by a DCC staff member and the project is usually their suggestion or a suggestion from outside DCC (such as a citizen). • Type: They will sometimes be members of the DCC Beta support network or core mentioned above. What they bring is vision and passion. Some informal knowledge of the relevant subject area is usually a given. They may have formal expertise in the relevant subject area but this is not usually required as they can rely on the above groups. • Required: Building upon the (former) DCC Studio’s ‘staff ideas scheme’ this will require a clear approval mechanism for them to input into projects on a structured basis, whether regular or irregular, or a combination of both.

• Type: These are “Champions of Change” that bring knowledge of their section, expertise in a particular field

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 25


Operational Structure A number of DCC staff made specific recommendations on the operational structure that DCC Beta could develop in order to be more sustainable: “DCC should examine setting up a DCCbeta Unit. Increase resources available to carry out more trials.” [DCC staff member] “The mechanism may work more effectively in a small group setting -within a cross discipline unit.” [DCC staff member] “Beta should be expanded as a project across all sections of DCC. [DCC staff member]

“I do think it is timely for the Beta concept to be owned by a Department or unit to give it more status.” [DCC staff member] Considering the three different staffing type outlined above, the following structure for DCC Beta is proposed. See Below. This structure provides the following advantages: 1. Lean: DCC Beta is only as large as required at any one time and it only scales up in relation to relevant projects. 2. Reversible and Flexible: Alongside the small number of core staff, it can be resourced in a flexible and reversible manner. Other than the core DCC Beta staff,

DCC Beta Structure Staffing Full-time staff, plus regularised part-time involvement.

DCC department

Setup ‘Core’ administrative resource and cross-departmental function (project-specific) to access resources and skills as needed.

DCC department

DCC department

Positioning Locate under a cross-departmental section.

DCC department Full-time “core” staff

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 26

Part-time regular and irregular involvement


no staff are ‘committed’ and any arrangements could be reviewed at regular periods such as quarterly or yearly.

The baseline budget should be increased in line with the number of appropriate Beta Projects being developed

3. Sustainable and Resilient: Having access to staff resources will make DCC Beta resilient. The DCC Beta Support staff remain available in their sections for the majority of the time. This ensures that they remain as a resource for their line management and also enables them to keep abreast with any developments in their area such as CPD requirements.

Large-scale trials would require more resources from the key departments. The rollout of projects would revert to the relevant core department(s).

4. Transferable: DCC Beta Support staff will be aware of the latest challenges that their home section is encountering and opportunities that it is considering. They can bring these insights to Beta Projects.

Budget

Monitoring and evaluation While DCC Beta has developed a system of metrics by which Beta Projects can be measured, there is a need to further develop the monitoring and evaluation approach of DCC Beta. Key evaluation themes to be addressed include:

Based on the DCC Beta experience to date it is essential that DCC Beta has core funding. The budget should be able to be scaled through various means such as cofinancing, match funding and contracted services.

Governance: An annual DCC Beta Report Card (similar to this document, but focussed on a single year) should be provided to Senior Management. These Report Cards will allow Senior Management to feed back each year with questions, improvements or additions for the following year’s Report Card.

DCC Beta has proved itself to be lean and cost effective but it should also be capable of running larger trials than those previously deployed and to be able to support a Beta Project team as the concept grows.

Management: In order to better assess the true cost of DCC Beta and individual Beta Projects, any future expansion of the concept should be aiming to find a way to more accurately measure:

To enable it to grow and develop, DCC Beta should be initially funded for a minimum of 3 years at a minimum set baseline budget. This will allow for appropriate structures to be established but also to allow DCC Beta to attract staff of sufficient quality and experience.

• DCC staff time input - staff participating in Beta Projects • DCC Metabolism - the recording of milestone dates between Beta Project stages • Media AEV - measure the monetary values on traditional print media, TV and radio, and also for social media.

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 27


Prioritising projects One of the issues that emerged over the course of delivering Beta Projects was the need to have a more coherent mechanism for prioritising projects. For example, when the issue of on-street dumping was initially explored under DCC Beta, it became apparent that it was potentially a ‘popular’ project with high quality suggestions from the public. It was also clear that on-street dumping represented a ‘wicked problem’ (highly complex problem with multiple feedback loops) which would require a rather different approach requiring multiple different Beta Projects. In order to be able to deal with a complex challenge such as on-street dumping, DCC Beta would need to develop a mechanism for concurrently managing and prioritising multiple Beta Projects. The framework on the page opposite is proposed as a mechanism for prioritising projects. The framework would allow for projects to be prioritised succinctly and transparently while communicating (internally and for the public) what projects are being undertaken. The framework will also enable senior management input into larger challenges whilst maintaining a ‘hands off’ approach to individual projects. It is recommended that this framework would be reviewed and updated on a quarterly basis. The bottom third of this table would be populated by suggestions from staff and citizens. Larger challenges in the middle third could arise from senior management and councillors’ input alongside input from DCC Beta. These

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 28

larger ‘wicked challenges’ will tend to have a slower turnover rate. The top third is focussed on further developing the DCC Beta concept and innovation ecosystem.

DCC metabolism “You [should] have a bias towards action: Done well today is better than perfect next week.” [U.S. startup, Buffer.] Based on experience to date, the main factors which are slowing the DCC Metabolism include the following: 1. Staff Time Permissions – Staff finding the time required to develop their Beta Project is currently the largest issue facing DCC Beta. In order to address this, the following actions are recommended: a) Ensure that the Beta Project process is as simple and as efficient as possible. b) Find a more effective way for staff to tap into available time and resources. This will require a series of trials with both senior management and individual staff involvement. c) Reduce the amount of time required by individual staff by creating a core resource which staff can avail of. 2. Funding – Having funding readily available for trials greatly speeds up the rollout of trials. This funding needs to be sufficient to ensure quick rollout. 3. Knowledge management – Carrying out a project in a ‘lean’ fashion tends to differ from existing DCC practices. DCC Beta needs to develop better and faster ways of gathering quantitative and qualitative data and feedback from trials.


Single projects (possibly multiple iterations) Dynamic, chopping and changing Arise: Bottom up and middle out (eg citizens, councillors and staff)

Individual Beta Projects Multiple projects (possibly multiple iterations). Longer-term. Arise: Top down (eg senior management and councillors)

City Challenges Organic, ongoing. Arise: As awareness of a friction point arises.

Enabling platform

Prioritising Beta Projects

DCC Beta

City Challenge (e.g. housing, on-street dumping) City Challenge City Challenge

Individual Beta Project (e.g. rainbox planters, bicycle hangar)

Individual Beta Project

Individual Beta Project

Individual Beta Project

Individual Beta Project

Individual Beta Project

Individual Beta Project

Individual Beta Project

Individual Beta Project

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 29


4. Project Permissions – Beta Projects have various ‘touchpoints’ within the organisation particularly when some form of ‘permission’ is required. These permissions could include placing something on a public pavement, using a City Council asset or when a project overlaps with another department.

All of the suggestions above are arising from conversations with DCC staff seeking support in many of these areas.

The process of gaining permissions is designed for very different circumstances to a Beta Project and the process is not always appropriate for a lean approach. This means that the process for gaining project permission could be streamlined for Beta Projects whenever possible.

DCC Beta emphasises evidence-based decision-making. This involves the collecting of useful and reliable evidence.

Internal DCC Practices DCC Beta mirrors Dublin City Council (external communications, projects, staffing, reporting, and so forth) and it has actively sought to find ways of doing more with less. On that basis, DCC Beta can provide opportunities for exploring possible changes to internal policy or work practice. For example, the following issues could be explored through internal Beta Projects: Reporting: For example, as DCC Beta develops new ways of reporting these new practices can be transferred to other sections. For example, ways to measure the ‘softer’ impacts of DCC Beta may help with valuing the ‘softer’ sections of the council. Measuring: Building capacities for evidence-gathering technologies and methods. For example, DCC Beta is proposing to place a monetary value on social media an approach not yet undertaken by other DCC sections.

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Technology, Smart Cities and Smart Citizens

Technology can often provide a solution for this. On the page opposite are some of the technology solutions that have been used to date on Beta Projects. For example, during the South William Street parklet Beta Project data was required to measure usage of the parklet. There is a Dublin Town footfall counter on South William Street (photo below). As this provides broad street-level data similar to other ‘city grid’ sensors it would not have generated useful data. Therefore, for this trial a counter was placed next to the parklet itself (centre photo above) providing data specifically relating to the usage of the parklet. This use of these forms of technology in cities generally falls under the umbrella of ‘Smart Cities’. There are various aspects of Smart Cities, particularly the use of technology to collect data, which generates public debate. Key issues that emerge include privacy (what data is being gathered, is it stored or encrypted, who can access it) and suitability (how useful is the data for decision-making).


A Beta Project that applies Smart City approaches could also be used to encourage debate about the use of sensors and different technologies that generate data about the city. This would help DCC learn about the pros and cons of the various technology types, the usefulness of the data generated and the practical aspects such as the installation and maintenance requirements. Using Beta Projects would allow this to happen at a manageable scale and the insights from this could be then used to inform any larger scale deployment in connection with DCCs Smart City aspirations. It is therefore recommended that the Smart City unit (Smart Dublin) links with Beta Projects as the

mechanism through which DCC initially learns and debates these aspects of Smart Cities. “[DCC Beta] shows the important work that should be part of planning smart city initiatives in terms of understanding the exact motivations, benefits and dangers of a city-wide roll out of technology, which might come without sufficient considerations regarding the different and complex issues that might emerge. [Sung-Yueh, PhD Researcher, ERC The Programmable City Project, Maynooth University] It is important to note that DCC Beta also places a strong emphasis on input and suggestions from Dublin citizens – the ‘smartest’ aspect of any city. This occurs through the on-street reports cards, blog and social media.

DCC Beta Report 2016 : 31


Developing partnerships

Service Design

In order to support the development and delivery of trials and prototypes, DCC Beta partnered with DCC Joinery Workshop and a number of organisations across Dublin such as TOG Maker Space and Code For Ireland.

“DCCbeta looks like a great approach to running experiments in government.” [feedback received from the UK organisation, ‘Service Design in Government’]

For example, the DCC internal Joinery Workshop created two Beta Projects more rapidly, cheaply and professionally compared to using other procurement processes. The makerspace TOG and coding group Code For Ireland have enabled DCC Beta to explore key aspects of several Beta Projects in very flexible and low cost ways. These partnerships were beneficial to DCC Beta as well as the partner organisations even though the relationship were informal. For DCC Beta to grow and achieve higher impact these partnerships should be continued and further developed. DCC Beta Report 2016 : 32

Prototyping is a key aspect of service design and is something which local governments generally struggle with across the world. As DCC looks to further the use of service design, it will increasingly require a method of prototyping. DCC Beta has developed this process and this can work in conjunction with any developments around service design within DCC. “If Beta ceased we think the City Council would end up reinventing the concept and process in the next couple of years.” [Deirdre Ni Raghallaigh, DCC Staff Member]


Working with Universities In a similar manner to the partnerships above, DCC Beta developed links with universities such as Dublin Institute of technology, University College Dublin, National College of Art and Design, Trinity College Dublin and University of Limerick. These links allowed students to undertake projects related to Beta Projects. For example, DIT visual communication students developed several concepts for the Rain Box Planters Beta Project. While the students benefit from having external projects to work on, DCC Beta benefits from creative input that will be useful when the final business model is being developed. “In relation to DIT and DCC Beta - I think there could be really interesting ways of developing this further.” [DIT staff member]

These links with universities should be developed over time. As DCC Beta grows there will be potential for more in-depth research and analysis that could be undertaken by Masters or PhD students and their mentors. “My proposed teaching idea is inspired by the Dublin City Councils Beta Projects. From time to time, a local business will contact the University and request an […] assessment of […]. Instead of addressing this problem straight away, I use the issue as a student project. It’s a serviced learning based course. […] A model […] is created and measurements are used to validate the model. […] The students are required to write a professional report for delivery to the client thus providing the students with a solid introduction to the world of […] consulting. I’d like this class to partner the Dublin City Council Beta Projects.” [TCD staff member]

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5. Conclusions Based on the experiences of delivering DCC Beta to date, there is sufficient evidence to warrant investing in and scaling up the approach within DCC. This section outlines a number of key recommendations. This report has set out some of the key insights and lessons that emerged from delivering DCC Beta to date. It has presented DCC Beta as a model and process of trialling, assessing and implementing ways to improve the experience of life in Dublin. DCC Beta provides the platform through which a number of individual “Beta Projects” can be delivered. These Beta Projects act as trials and experiments that address key issues that the council is seeking to understand before implementing on a city-wide scale.

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It is worth noting that sections within DCC are always “piloting” new projects at different scales but there is no common methodology. This lack of a common methodology means these activities can be less efficient for DCC but also less transparent and inclusive for citizens. DCC Beta has developed and demonstrated a better process for making evidence-based decisions, the use of strategic design tools and methods and an excellent overall return on investment.


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Dublin City Council Beta A Dublin City Council live mechanism for trialling, assessing and implementing ways to improve the experience of life in the Capital. Email: betaprojects@dublincity.ie Website: www.dccbeta.ie www.twitter.com/DCCbeta www.facebook.com/DCCbeta www.instagram.com/DCCbeta Postal Address: Dublin City Council Beta City Architects Division, Dublin City Council, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland. DCC Beta Report 2016 : 36

Profile for Dublin City Council Beta

DCC Beta Report 2016  

DCC Beta is a Dublin City Council live mechanism for trialling, assessing and implementing ways to improve the experience of life in the Cap...

DCC Beta Report 2016  

DCC Beta is a Dublin City Council live mechanism for trialling, assessing and implementing ways to improve the experience of life in the Cap...

Profile for dccbeta