On a bright Monday morning, 116 MSc Data Science students from campuses all across Scotland assembled for a week of innovating with data. The location was The Whisky Bond, the ground floor of which had been given over to the event.

The Whisky Bond
The Whisky Bond

Facilitation each day is provided by the amazing folks at Snook, a Scottish service design agency.

After preliminaries were out of the way we were asked to select from one of half a dozen challenges. Three of these involved working with companies who had chosen to make their confidential data available under NDA conditions to students to work on. Hats off to Data Lab, Snook and Urban Tide for being able to persuade Heineken, Tesco and others to trust them and the attendees to respect confidentiality, and to the companies for doing so.

The challenge
The challenge

I chose to participate with 11 others in a project looking at the links between the planning process and biodiversity.

We split into two sub-teams: one looking at the planning process in Scotland, the data available as part of that etc; the other looking at biodiversity.

We created a couple of mind maps, and each team talked the other through what they had done. We sketched out what we would work on on Tuesday morning, then we split for the night.

Team Planosaurus Mascot
Team Planosaurus Mascot

Those of us from far-flung places (does that include Stirling?) headed to our digs, then out for an evening meal.

Data Lab Innovation Lab – Day One
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