DIUS living up to its name

I’m genuinely delighted to see the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills allowing itself some room to innovate. As DIUS social media manager Steph Gray explains, they’ve just published an interactive version of their white paper on innovation (published a few months back), using – wahey! – WordPress. Or more specifically, CommentPress: the theme which allows you to add comments on each individual paragraph of a document.
It’s a nice piece of work: I first referenced CommentPress in late 2007, saying it was ‘just crying out for someone to use on a White Paper or other consultation document.’ Lo and behold, Steph has done just that, and it really does work. It even looks quite pretty too. I actually find myself wanting to add comments.
But more significantly, as Steph clearly recognises, it represents ‘one of the first public outings of [their] sandbox server, designed to be at arm’s length from the corporate site and with greater scope to test innovative tools and approaches online.’
It’s not the first really smart thing to come out of DIUS lately, either. The work they’ve done with Harry Metcalfe, to deliver a full-on (customised) Atom feed of consultations. Unlikely to excite many people, to be honest; in fact, I doubt many people will ever see it. But it’s absolutely the right thing to do, delivering a comprehensive, well-structured data feed for interested parties (ie Harry) to use as they please.
We’ll only make steps forward if people are given freedom to play around, and somewhere to do it. It’s fantastic to see DIUS taking such a lead on this.

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