The Open Data Institute (ODI)

Understanding their needs

The ODI opened in December 2012 in London’s Shoreditch. The organisation works with major corporates, start-ups and public sector bodies that want to build new businesses or generate social, environmental and economic value from open data. It now has a network of more than 20 international ‘nodes’ or branches around the world. Thwaites Communications was asked to communicate the launch of the ODI, generating coverage in national, business and tech media, and building understanding of open data.

Unravelling their complexity

Open Data can often be perceived as an esoteric and niche sector, so we wanted to be able to provide the ODI with a media presence and messaging that transcends the exclusivity of tech industry professionals, unravelling technical and scientific complexities. We developed the communications strategy for this start-up business and launched the ODI by setting up a range of interviews with the CEO and ODI founders in the national and trade media. Following impressive launch coverage we quickly created a high profile story with big data startup Mastodon C, whose analysis of NHS prescribing data identified millions of pounds of potential savings to the taxpayer.

Our ongoing retainer and strategic advice includes positioning the ODI founders and CEO as thought leaders in the open data space via features, opinion pieces and speaking opportunities. Through a targeted contact programme we have built media relationships to take open data from the tech community, to a wider consumer audience by creating stories that emphasise its role in our everyday lives.

We also handled the media management of the ODI’s Annual Summits in October 2013 and 2014, including the development of a range of data stories for the national, tech and business media.

Captivating their audience

We have secured more than 1800 items of coverage since launch in December 2012 of which one third have been PR-influenced. By creating a range of open data stories ahead of the ODI Summit, 2013, we achieved over 100 items of coverage, whilst in 2014, we secured 120 pieces.

Emma and her team have been an essential part of the ODI founding team since we started. They have shaped our communications strategy, and actively delivered stories and coverage in hundreds of publications, ranging from the front page of the Financial Times, to Wired, to the Wall Street Journal Europe.

– Gavin Starks, CEO, The Open Data Institute

Working on this project:

Emma Thwaites , Helen Desmond