Sometimes it just works.

We were musing about NESTA’s Make It Local competion, got chatting to our estimable Fazeley colleague Will Perrin of TalkaboutLocal, took the idea that came out of Will’s brilliant enthusiasm to Digital Birmingham’s event for the NESTA competition, where it got some great feedback, not least from Birmingham City Council’s Simon Whitehouse.

Dodging the obstacles put in our path by NESTA’s August deadline and nearly-everyone-involved’s summer holidays, the city ( in the shape of Simon)  and Mudlark got in an application to NESTA and in September we learned we were one of the winners.

The result will be the Birmingham Civic Dashboard, coming to a screen near you in January 2011. Simon has blogged about it here, NESTA reported it here, and New Media Age also reported it.

There will  a lot more to come as we hit our stride, but in short the BCD will present  a searchable, drillable, zoomable, tellable heat-map of all the contact calls that come into the council’s contact centre each and every day.

We hope it will offer a new way of  viewing (and, of course, interacting with) all the new conversations a big city council has with its residents. People will be able to see how residents in  different areas of the city are concerned about different (or the same) things – and where different problems or questions occur.

Our first big block of data has just arrived and we are getting our teeth into it – more soon.

Charles Hunter, Mudlark.

Photo Credit – Stef Lewandowski – http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeioux/35557449/