Dear Board Chair, Trustees and Management Team,

An Introduction to the Feasibility Study for a Community Insights Laboratory (CIL) in the WBOP and an invitation to participate.

In an ideal world if you could go to a place and potentially get the answers to your most pressing operational problems and, as a consequence, have the potential to assist the decisions making process based on real evidence – all with the press of a few buttons and all from the comfort of your office or your home – would this be a place you would like to ‘visit’?

Such ‘places’ exist all around the world. They are called Data Science Labs and they are enabling all types of organisations to make better and more effective decisions because these decisions are based on real and real-time data. As a result, organisations are working smarter, they are becoming more efficient and therefore more effective and as a consequence provide a better service for their end user whilst remaining sustainable.

For example, the Ministry of Justice in the UK runs a data lab which tracks reoffending data and the information provided helps organizations to assess the impact of their work on reducing re-offending; provides evidence to funders and clients; and develops the evidence base of effective rehabilitation. Closer to home, Sport New Zealand has developed the Community Sport Insight Tool which is designed to help those operating in the sport and recreation sector to better understand their participants and plan for future demand. Katikati Community Centre uses data to determine the need for particular programmes and works with their providers to plan future provision. An example of this is their relationship with the AA driver programmes. Data showed that need exceeded provision and thus the AA has gone back to their funders and requested more resources in order to meet the need.

Here, in the WBOP, we want to ensure that the community sector is provided with sufficient support and the right tools to empower them to make a positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable people. With this in mind a feasibility study has been commissioned by TECT and Socialink to ascertain whether there is a need to establish a Data Science Lab, specifically for the community sector, within the WBOP and, if so, what form it would take.

For the purposes of this study and to differentiate it from other Data Science Labs, we are using the name COMMUNITY INSIGHTS LABOROTARY (CIL).

We are honoured to have been invited by Socialink to carry out this feasibility study.

Who are ‘we’?

We are a group of three like-minded people, with complimentary skills, who share a passion for empowering and enabling individuals and organisations to operate at the highest level and as a result provide the best possible service and support for those who require it.

We are: –

Paul Whitaker – nearly thirty years of experience within the social and community sector. Experience in both operational and governance roles. Currently sits on the boards of Creative Bay of Plenty, TEDx Tauranga, the establishment board of Taumata and Te Okuroa Drive Schools and the Distributions Committee of the Acorn Foundation.

Philip King – previously GM Community Services at Tauranga City Council. Over 15 years experience of working directly with the community sector. Knowledge and strong strategic relationship with key local and central government organisations. Leader and sponsor of numerous feasibility investigations across a range of sectors including infrastructure , community and organisational change.

Michael Luke – Over 40 years experience in management and executive positions in Information Technology, Digital Enhancement and Data Science. Understands the power of information, having worked with all levels of employees within organisations. Extensive training experience regarding the use of Big Data for both analysis and end users.

We would like to invite your organisation to be part of this feasibility study as we value your thoughts and opinions around these matters.

There are 3 ways you can be involved: –

  1. Complete the on-line survey that will be distributed in the near future;
  2. Volunteer for a face to face discussion which will take about an hour;
  3. Volunteer to attend one of our Focus Group sessions where you will discuss all aspects of this concept with others from the community sector.

If you wish to take part in either option 2 or option 3 or both of them, please email Paul on paulwwhitaker56@gmail.com of give him a call on 027 555 6400. 

We are looking forward to hearing your ‘voice’ on this matter.

Kindest regards

Michael Luke

Philip king

Paul Whitaker