Richard Kingston

The Barnsley Skunkworks

Posted Jun 8, 2018

This week I brought to order the first meeting of Barnsley Council’s new innovation group. It’s aim… to stimulate digital, cross departmental innovation, by example - taking on some exciting projects to implement new prototype technology solutions and excite the workforce with the art of the possible.

The core group kicking off this new venture includes Paul Bell, Steve Furniss, Andras Revesz, Glynn Shore, Shane Jagger and me. It’s hoped the group will grow and attract new members from all around the council as it starts to showcase its work.

Barnsley Skunkworks Logo

Branded as the Barnsley Skunkworks reference the Lockhead World War II Skunkworks Project, the inaugural meet was in our new home from home - the hackspace at the Barnsley DMC. There we have access to a whole range of equipment from 3D printers, to soldering irons, to Raspberry Pi’s, to more sensors than we can shake a stick at.

Our first meeting was to set our terms of reference (which I’ll link here shortly) - to agree our objectives, our shared vision, how often we’ll meet, how we’ll engage with others in the business, how we’ll provide value back to the business, what we’ll work on from day one and how we’ll track our progress to report back to senior management.

I’m pleased to say the meeting was a huge success and we’re all very excited to be making a start. Officially that happens in July ‘18, subject to gathering one or two approvals from senior management, securing a budget and wrapping up one or two other pieces of work to free up some capacity.

There’ll be an internal SharePoint site set up soon to give clear visibility of the projects we’re working on, ideas we have in the pipeline and details of how colleagues can get involved if they’d like to. We’re looking for anyone who wants to use innovative technology to solve issues for Barnsley residents, businesses, visitors and council staff. More details on the Barnsley Skunkworks website.