KTN's online platform helps you to make the connections you need

 

The Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) has refreshed its online platform to intelligently connect you to relevant events, funding, thought pieces and specialist staff to help your business innovate and grow.

You can discover content using your area of interest, from Digital Creative to transport; from space to health – all major UK economic sectors are covered. Once you have selected your interests, using our intelligent tagging system, we will then display rich and relevant content related to your area, often from surprising sources.

An example might be new satellite technology from the space sector that is applicable in the agri-food sector. KTN-UK.co.uk will help you form these unusual and valuable connections.

All content on the platform has been carefully curated by our team of innovation specialists – not by an automated algorithm – so you can be confident that KTN is connecting you to the most relevant cutting-edge information.

 

The move also marks a closer alignment with our main funder, Innovate UK , with the website branding making a clear visual link. Knowledge Transfer Network is Innovate UK's innovation network partner, and also works with other funders to provide innovation networking services and fulfil our mission to drive UK growth.

We link new ideas and opportunities with expertise, markets and finance through our network of businesses, universities, funders and investors. From agri-food to autonomous systems and from energy to design, KTN combines expertise in all sectors with the ability to cross boundaries. Connecting with KTN can lead to potential partners, horizon-expanding events and innovation insights relevant to your needs.

Visit our people pages to connect directly with expertise in your sector.

Visit the KTN refreshed online platfom here

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Hyperlocal Media: Some Opportunities and Challenges

This post is submitted by Giles Lane, Director at Proboscis - an independent artist-led creative studio.

10 years ago Proboscis created Urban Tapestries, an experimental mobile/wireless platform for mapping and sharing local information, stories, experiences and games aimed at grass roots communities – what we called 'public authoring'. It has been described as 'proto-social media' coming just before Facebook and Twitter took off and even before services like Google Maps became ubiquitous. It was also a herald for the kinds of 'hyperlocal media' projects and platforms that are now being set up. Between 2003 and 2008 we ran a series of projects with different communities – in public places, on social housing estates, in schools – investigating what kinds of thing people would want to author media about and the kinds of relationships that this could create for them. For instance, we experimented with building environmental sensors on toy robots and in carnival costumes to engage people in investigating air and other forms of pollution in their local environment matching it against 'Big Data' scraped from government sources(proto-'citizen science'). We also helped people on a housing estate gather evidence of unfixed repairs and other issues by documenting, cataloguing and mapping them in an effort to get their local council and housing provider to honour their statutory obligations. And we ran projects with school children to map and annotate their experiences of collaboration and democracy, environmental pollution and protection, sound and listening.

Across these projects and others, we encountered a number of challenges as well as many opportunities for strengthening community bonds and forging new links. Some of the difficulties we faced in engaging with communities were as much to do with common preconceptions of technologists and researchers about how people use technology, as with people's own issues. Self-confidence, a sense of agency and permission in having a voice, technical fluency, organisational and managerial skills, various 'literacies' such as visual literacy, map-reading, gathering data and trust in safe data usage were all encountered time and again in different contexts and with different groups of people. We found that people tended to prefer to take on just one role in a larger group – not as the 'super-users' so confidently imagined in countless academic and industry visions of mobile culture. We also found that the roles people were happy to take on to contribute to a hyperlocal media site either mirrored their working life or a specific hobby or passion they had.

 

 

Around 2006 we stopped using our own Urban Tapestries platform in favour of 'scavenging' free online media services and stitching them together to create a similar effect. We did this for several reasons: firstly to create a more organic 'platform' that would not be reliant on a single monolithic service provider but could aggregate across multiple services, each with alternatives should any one fail or be shut down; secondly, to enable communities to have their own choices about what particular flavour of media services they could use (such as choosing between YouTube and Vimeo, or Google Maps and OpenStreetMap etc). A third reason was sustainability; building and running our own custom platform was simply too costly in time, money and other resources for us to continue it long term. 

Most recently, in 2012, we worked with a grass roots community group in Pallion, Sunderland, helping them devise a sustainable 'knowledge network' in the face of impending benefit changes. A purely digital system was clearly not appropriate for reasons such as access, privacy, safety and trust, as well as mixed educational abilities and capacities. Instead we co-designed a series of simple tools that could be used individually and in groups, all of which could be easily digitised and posted online as and when the community settled on which online media and services they would use. We have recently released a generic version of the tools we created as the Neighbourhood Ideas Exchange Toolkit which is a free and open toolkit for anyone to adopt and adapt to their own situation and context. It is very much a work in progress and we aim to continue adding new tools and methods to it in the future.

 

 

Sharing knowledge, experiences, information and stories within and between local communities is clearly at the heart of any hyperlocal platform; but it's vitality is dependent on the capacities and capabilities of the people taking part, as well as its relevance to their everyday lives. Creating multiple, hybrid digital/physical ways in which people can contribute and be part of a hyperlocal project is crucial not just to gathering content, but in making opportunities for people to come together as members of a community. Figuring out what kinds of information people actually can or want to gather and share remains one of the most significant hurdles to sustaining platforms over time. 

 

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