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Mel Flanagan

Creative Director, Nook Studios/Open Government Advocate

Mel Flanagan is a researcher, storyteller and the Creative Director of NSW’s Nook Studios. She is a designer of open government information services and is an active advocate for many open government initiatives. Mel has also been supporting Australia’s Open Government Partnership and the Civil Society Network’s communications and engagement efforts.
As a designer, Mel uses her storytelling and audience engagement skills to design web services and content to help government agencies be more open and communicate better.
She spends her days translating data and complex information into compelling content to be easily understood by new audiences and improve audience engagement – using maps, interactive process pathways, data visualisations, illustrations, and location-aware services.
Mel’s experience traverses film, theatre, and creative and executive roles for large and small companies (local and international). Nook is a social enterprise and provides pro bono support for a number of environment and community organisations including Zero Waste Network and Publish What You Pay Australia.

Transparent Government: The Stories we can Tell with Data

Session Outline
In this session Mel will reveal how there is an increasing and powerful global push to open up the trove of information governments generate, collect, and manage. There is a vast array of data ranging from; open data, big data from multiple sources, sensitive information about citizens, and complex information about businesses interactions with government, such as contracts and procurement, taxes and royalties.

This creates many opportunities to use this data to tell stories. To help citizens and the private sector understand what is happening across governments and get more involved and be part of policy and service design and delivery, means not just access to this data, but tools that allow people to dig through, analyse it, use diagrams and maps to make sense of it and to connect information in a way that is understandable, engaging and useful to the general public.

Learning Outcomes
This talk shows some of the possibilities available today and looks at what may be possible as governments around the world open up. It shows some of the ground-breaking work done in Australia. The talk touches on issues around transparency, accountability, systems of protection, data ethics frameworks, and ultimately how to build trust through participation and opening up processes and decision-making.

Throughout, we’ll see some of the work by Nook Studios building systems for government, including the ground-breaking Common Ground mining title information system, as well as tools that help link and connect information in a meaningful way using data pathways.

How session fits with meaning and purpose in work & community
The session provides insight about the role of the citizen and private sector in open government, through understanding data in meaningful ways and informed involvement in the government policy cycle and service design and delivery.