Data Dialogue - European Data Lingo

2019-11-21 | Alexandra

Data Dialogue - European Data Lingo

What urgent questions are there today about Europe’s zeitgeist? What data is available or could be collected to help answer this question? How can civil society organisations with a focus on European topics improve their work with the help of data? We explored these questions last Thursday evening (14.11.2019) during our data dialogue at the CityLAB in Berlin. It was held under the motto “European Data Lingo”.

What is a “data dialogue”?

“If you can give it a name, you can find a solution” – With this nice sentence Thomas from POLIS180 summarized the impact of the Berlin Data Dialogue aptly: The first big hurdle, especially for those not familiar with the subject, is to find a name for the problem that can be researched and for which existing tools and approaches can be found. It is also important to understand which problems are easy to solve, which challenges are more complex, and what additional range of ideas may exist that have not yet been considered. In our data dialogue format, we regularly bring together non-profit organizations and data analysts from our network to find data-based solutions to the organizations’ problems. Together with the NGOs we want to take the first difficult steps on the way to a data-based project.

Data Dialogue - Europe Edition

On Thursday evening, 14.11.2019, our data dialogue was held at CityLAB in Berlin under the motto “European Data Lingo”. With the Citizens of Europe, Young European Federalists (JEF) and POLIS180, three non-profit organisations, each working with different approaches to European issues, pitched their organisation, their challenges and the data available for them in three minutes.

After the pitches, about 30 interested data analysts* met in four small groups for 1.5 hours to intensively discuss one of the topics. The results of the discussions were then compiled again in the large plenum.

Citizens of Europe

Fedo from Citizens of Europe
Fedo from Citizens of Europe presented the challenge that the organisation, which has been in existence for more than 20 years, faces: data from all these years are available in the form of scanned text documents. These are, for example, statements on the question “What is democracy for you?", written down by volunteers and Europe-wide workshop participants before and after Citizens of Europe events. Now the question arises how these documents can be digitised, which data protection issues need to be considered and which analyses can be carried out with these text data. How, for example, can the data be used to answer the question of how the understanding of democracy has changed over the last 20 years?

Young European Federalists (JEF)

Discussions with JEF

The challenges that Malte brought from the Young European Federalists (JEF) to the CityLAB can be broken down into one measure: the development of a “data strategy” for the European political association. The complexity of the association structure - the JEF unites 15 regional associations in Germany and around 100 local associations - has contributed to the creation of numerous data silos. The standardisation and consolidation of these data sets is one of JEF Germany’s objectives, both to professionalise the association structures and to learn more about the members and their ideas, the latter being a starting point for a member diversification strategy. Finally, data merging could lead to a “data dashboard” for the JEF. Furthermore, according to Malte, the JEF is also interested in standardising data collection - e.g. with uniform questionnaires for the evaluation of the various JEF seminars. In other words: there is a lot to do.


Pitch - Thomas from POLIS180
Thomas from POLIS180 approached us with the question of how they could ensure that a representative group of people participated in the summits they hosted on specific topics. The group around Thomas and & POLIS180 discussed a lot and also came to some assistance on how POLIS180 can approach this methodically/structured in the future.

Open Pitches

One participant spontaneously responded to the call to pitch her own ideas. She is currently pursuing the question of how to identify target groups that are susceptible to fake news and how this threatens democracy.

Closing with pizza and beer

The exciting discussions were continued with lemonade, beer and pizza, ideas were born and contacts were exchanged. We are eager to see which joint projects will emerge from this data dialogue and look forward to the next event!

If you are part of an NGO and also have data topics on which you would like input from experts and exchange in the context of a data dialogue, we are looking forward to your messages!