imin: 'We're enabling a new generation of digital health and fitness platforms'
With the 2016 Open Data Awards just around the corner, we catch up with the team at tech-for-good company imin, a finalist in the Business category, about their work opening up physical activity data
The Open Data Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in open data across the world. Hundreds of inspiring people and organisations have been nominated. The awards will be held on 1 November 2016 at the BFI Southbank. Explore all nominees and finalists and follow #OpenDataAwards for updates on the night.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
imin is a social good technology company that aggregates open physical activity data and provides it via a suite of APIs to companies, developers and innovators to build the next generation of engaging digital health and wellness platforms that will enable people be more physically active.
What first got you excited about open data?
In the early days of imin, before we became an open data business, we were a consumer-facing app. We met many industry stakeholders who gave us some hard truths: it’s been done before and you’re no different to the rest.
This challenged us to think differently about the structure of our sector, and so began our open data journey. Our early research into other sectors empowered by open data was what excited us initially; the possibilities offered by open data were seemingly endless. However, the most excited we've been about open data was back in November 2014 when we presented Bethnal Green Ventures (imin’s first investors and backers) with a single piece of A4 paper illustrating our vision for a physical activity sector empowered by open data.
What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?
Honestly, saying 'no' to things. We’ve been privileged to work with some amazing people and organisations, and we're constantly presented with opportunities to work in different ways to get people more active. We’d love to be able to say yes to every opportunity that comes our way, but we have to be careful to remain focused on our milestones and what we need to do to get there. We’re out and about advocating open data and meeting new people as much as we can, but at the same time we’re not afraid of hibernating when needs must.
What kind of open data would you like to see more of?
Given the power of open data and the collaboration it encourages, all sectors can benefit in some shape or form from more data being open. But from an imin point of view, we’d like to see more open physical activity data.
This can be data on anything from an empty squash courts or yoga classes to walking or running groups. The more providers – large and small, public and private – that make their physical activity data open, the easier it will be for innovation that will ultimately benefit the end-consumer. We recommend you check out the OpenActive website for more information on open data in the physical activity sector.
What are you most looking forward to about the ODI Summit and Awards?
We’re looking forward to the opening and closing ceremonies. A couple of the imin team were at the ODI Summit 2015 and found the keynote speeches at the start and call to action at the end of the day tremendously inspiring. They've since motivated the imin team to continue working tirelessly to make a change.