Associated Initiative:

Key Individual:
Tshegang Chipeya

Who can benefit from this study?
Civic Tech initiatives

Organisation responsible for case study:
Name: Durban Edge

Org. type: Government

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Providing intelligence and insight to economic decision-makers

Post Status: Not applicable
Main Project Location: Durban
Project country/countries: South Africa
Project dates:  –
Last updated: 23 March 2022

Brief overview of the Case Study   

The Durban EDGE is an open data portal launched in November 2019 by the City of eThekwini. The portal responds to the objectives of open data in municipalities for improved decision-making. The tool originates from the Durban EDGE brand which was established in 2011 by eThekwini’s Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit, the aim of creating a recognisable source of cutting-edge information and intelligence.

The challenge or problem

Access to reliable, accurate, up-to-date economic data and information on eThekwini was previously available as quarterly PDF or limited print magazine. This magazine consisted of quarterly data, and data insights, however, was distributed to a select number of key stakeholders via printed publication or emailed as a PDF and also available within the eThekwini Website. This meant that this data was not easily available to all of its target audience (SACN and eThekwini).

The solution that was implemented

Upon the realisation of these challenges, it was concluded that there was a critical need to provide local, economic data to eThekwini’s municipal leaders and economic stakeholders in a method that would be; quicker to access, easy to read and analyse with a wider reach etc. (SACN and eThekwini). The tool’s objective is to increase access to city data on a single repository, disseminating consistent and accurate data while improving data practices and processes.

Following a longstanding partnership with SACN and OCL, eThekwini Municipality launched the EDGE portal in November 2019. OCL, SACN and Lumec collaborated to develop The Durban Edge and were also strategic partners to further develop and design the platform. The role of the OCL and Lumec among others were collecting data from different municipal departments and other data partners, structure data into the correct format for the portal as well managing approval of the portal design (SACN).

What results were achieved?

Several roadblocks were and continue to be a key challenge for managing the entire project successfully. This requires a dedicated project manager or team from within the City’s programme to manage the flow of data from collection to publication. Some of the challenges, getting people and resources was a laborious process. Developing the data portal took more than just having technical capacity but took developing processes and systemic approaches until information is published on the portal. One of the first and crucial successes was when the portal was accepted by the council and city management.
Subsequent to that was the success to reach out to as many stakeholders, who are now able to access economic information on the portal at any time. Having information in open format with ease to understand and analyse was also a great success for all stakeholders involved.

Lessons and recommendations

A lesson to other municipalities.
“It takes a while to get buy-in from different departments and stakeholders, so the best thing to do is start with what you have”. Tshegang Chipeya -Senior Research Advisor & Programme Lead
Be prepared to need more time and resources. This kind of project demands a lot of attention and detail. TC
“Don’t work towards a launch or completion date” – Joanne Parker, Product Owner OCL/Lumec
Brainstorm what you think success looks like for the portal and aim for that for the rest of the life of the portal e.g. having businesses and counsellors regularly using the portal and giving feedback, two-way flow of information from academic and back.

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