INSPIREing Impressions from a Thinkathon

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INSPIREing Impressions from a Thinkathon


Participants embrace new workshop format at the INSPIRE Conference 2018 in Antwerp

At the INSPIRE conference the project team for developing the European Data Portal hosted a workshop titled “Thinkathon: INSPIRE, Open Data, Copernicus … Let’s Get Together!“. Part of the European Data Portal’s project team from con terra and Copernicus acted as facilitators.

Our 3 hour workshop was conducted as a “Thinkathon” – a novelty to the INSPIRE conference that attracted quite a bit of attention. Thinkathons are inspired by the hackathon format: It is a chance for people to come together in a thinking session for creative problem solving.

What is holding us back?
For the Thinkathon the participants each joined the group of their main area of interest: INSPIRE, Open Data, or Copernicus. We adapted the creativity technique “Speed Boat”, which works like this:
We imagine INSPIRE/Open Data/Copernicus as a speed boat. While we would like the speed boat to go very fast, it has some anchors holding it back. The participants think about what anchors are holding back their “boat” and put them on a flipchart. The anchors are then discussed and clustered by similar themes.

The first session ended with a summary of each group’s results (see photos below). We started the second session with prioritizing the importance of the issues collected before. Each participant was given 5 dot stickers and asked to use them place their votes on the issues they found especially important. This “dot voting” proved to be effective to collaboratively prioritize and visualize how the group felt about the identified issues.

How can we take up speed?
Back in the three groups for INSPIRE, Open Data, and Copernicus we discussed ideas on how to take up speed (or rather: how to lift the anchors). Animated discussions in each group led to ideas on how to approach the obstacles which were documented on flipcharts (see photos below) and later summarized for all workshop participants.

It was heartening to see how people want to be involved in helping make INSPIRE a success. The group discussing INSPIRE started out by establishing that they felt INSPIRE is indeed a worthwhile effort and they are optimistic that it will eventually succeed - despite the many anchors/issues.

INSPIRE Thinkathon