Social Value in Defence hackathon project wins international data award

Technology experts from companies including Babcock International Group (Babcock) and the Defence Suppliers Forum have won a global award for their work in highlighting the impact data can have on improving people’s lives.


The Institute of Analytics (IoA) has given its first ever ‘Data for Social Good Award’ to the Social Value in Defence hackathon project.

The cross-industry collaboration included Microsoft, Ministry of Defence, Defence Equipment and Support, social value platform, whatimpact, Plymouth City Council, BAE Systems and Northrup Grumman.

The team of data analysts and social value experts were announced the as winners of this award today, February 9, 2023, following the hackathon pilot at the end of last year.

During the hackathon, the team built and tested a comprehensive dataset combining advanced analytics in several days. With that data, the team was able to create an in-depth analysis of the chosen pilot area, Plymouth, providing information that will be vital to help businesses plan and better understand social value needs.

The pilot was led by Babcock’s team, using their local knowledge of Plymouth as the area’s largest employer. The team wanted to see if they could successfully create a credible, accessible and easy to use, open-source data directory. The idea was to create a shared vision between government, private sector and charities, to help them make better informed social value decisions around employment, environmental or community projects.

The lessons learnt and the created visualisations are being shared for the next hackathon challenges, with the aim to roll out the programme nationally.

The IoA said the project team “demonstrated the power of open-source data and technology solutions to solve future challenges”.

Dr Clare Walsh, director of education at the IoA, said it was also the best example they had seen of how “data can be used to solve the humanitarian and environmental problems facing society today”.

Kat Dixon, analytics business partner, Babcock, part of the winning team said: “We’re absolutely delighted to have won the IoA’s first ‘Data for Social Good Award’. It really shows how we can harness the power of data through technology.

“Understanding data is playing an increasingly significant role in assessing and responding to the needs of communities where government contracts will be delivered. The creation of an open and transparent data platform also means companies and governments can use the data to gain a better insight into where and how resource should be allocated and drive increased impact through the practice of social value.”