Update and Minutes taken from the Advisory Group Meeting

snow on pondThe weather around the country did not prevent the members of the REALISE team meeting in Southampton – luck was on our side that it was on 1st Dec and not the 2nd! This is the view from my kitchen this morning!

We were also lucky to have Lester Gilbert, Gary Wills and Nasser Siabi as CEO of MicrolinkPC,a company supplying and supporting users of Assistive Technologies and Mike Littler to represent assessors of Assistive Technology.  Apologies were received from Garry Paxton, Clare Chiba, Prof. Mark Hawley and Prof Lynn Martin.

Peter Cudd presented an overview of the project (PowerPoint video) and this complements the overview provided by Mike Wald at the Support and Synthesis meeting (video and notes) on 12th November, 2010.  This was follwed by Ross Gardler’s workshop launching the online OSSWatch licencing differentiator tool that is designed to aid developers when making choices about the licencing of open source software.  This is a very complex subject, but it is now possible to learn how to make a more informed choice as a result of working through a series of questions with explanations to guide the user.  Ross is keen for a further discussion to take place around this online tool which is one of the outcomes for the REALISE project. Please use this blog for comments or our Project-Realise Google group

One of the discussion points over lunch was to try to embed this Google group within our website – this is the REALISE market place for future ideas, project incubation and spin offs.

Again feedback is needed for this part of the project in the spirit of co-design and open innovation! Everyone is welcome to contribute.

As timings for the day went a little awry lunch was taken up with further discussion around the differentiator tool and then Steve Lee presented his online Community Explorer tool. This is once again in draft mode and we are sharing this so that everyone can see how the market place will contain some really useful tools for users.   More advice will be added to this tool in the future with pointers being available from Steve’s discussion today around Community and Governance (video with Synote transcription) with a few remaining MSc students at the University of Soutampton before the university closed for the day.

As for the key points mentioned in the previous blog:

  • Try and connect tools that already exist including finding out existing projects

The tools mentioned once again included Mozilla Drumbeat Barracuda and on Monday at RAATE several other sites were mentioned including  Kickstarter, Donationcoder and specifically for ideas around AT there is Enabled by Design just for starters. This all ties up with our wish to “Keep it simple so tools don’t get in the way – in particular the online market place”

  • Focus on people rather than tools and keep the language around Assistive Technology easy to understand

Peter mentioned this in his discussion with links to Devices for Dignity and by the end of the day Ross pointed out how important it will be to engage through carers and assessors as they may lead us to more ideas from users as well as linking up with charities and other organisations.

  • Login – is it neceassary – via Linkedin? Facebook? Google, OpenID – lazy login, no login?

The debate continues as to whether a login is really necessary and at what stage – at present – we may have to have a poll on this one but the preference is to leave it all as open as possible.

  • How do we link developers, business and users?

By the end of the afternoon it was clear that we could have a case study of a particular group to illustrate how business can be linked to the carers and assessors and so to the users with the support of Nasser and MicrolinkPC with Mike Littler. It would be good to have other examples of how this open innovation could work.

  • Is it important to have a separate AT community? Or to join mainstream communities?

This quandary was clearly illustrated in a BBC news item this morning about mainstream technologies being used with disabled individuals to provide independence.

  • Terminology for the main tabs…. Incubator works in Italian – incubator (for eggs, baby)  incubatrice  f Translation English – Italian Collins Dictionary

It became clear in the discussion that people may not have a notion around an ‘idea’ for a project or program but they would have a notion around a problem or need and that we need to offer examples and include this type of language on the initial pages for the Market place.

  • Timing of when an idea moves into the incubator remains uncertain but it was agreed a summary must be added when the move occurs

This was extended to the view that you could dip into the market place at any stage and there may even be commercial AT products that had been abandonned and could be revived under an open source banner.

The meeting ended early as the snow was threatening and is still continuing as I type this up!  Thank you so much to everyone who made it and we plan to have our next Advisory Group meeting when Spring has arrived!

snowy garden

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  1. Pingback: Agenda for January 14th 2011 Skype meeting | REALISE Project

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