My first impression when waking into Nesta’s main office was: “Am I in Google?” From the colourful shapes and designs spread across the walls to the couches by the window overlooking the OXO Tower, it felt like I had stepped into the hippest Silicon Valley start up by a recent Stanford graduate in the world. And this feeling was only reaffirmed throughout the week.
Nesta’s work, put simply, is innovation. They aim to take ground breaking ideas and make them a reality, covering pretty much all topics imaginable, like healthcare, democracy and policy-making. My personal focus for the next 4 weeks will be a mixture of investigating personal data economy and digital democracy, which is the coolest project I’ve ever done.
Of course, I started by just reading through a mountain of documents trying to wrap my head around some of the complex data science concepts that were going to be my bread and butter for the next month (disclaimer: I still don’t fully understand them). I was even able to attend interviews so I could hear from the experts themselves, which was incredibly revealing. Never have I learnt so much about a topic in so little time (if you don’t count exams week).
Peppered throughout my week were coffee breaks with various employees. Although some did invite me to a hot chocolate and therefore I might be biased, I can say they were some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They took time from their busy schedules to tell me about their research topics and I can honestly say after hearing them talk, I would like to do an internship with every single one of them.
I hope- no, I know, that in the weeks to come I will get to meet some more amazing people and learn even more about the world of politics and data science, and of course some more hot chocolate would be nice.
Highlight of the week: Watching a Wimbledon match whilst having strawberries and cream during our lunch break on the 6th floor terrace overlooking the River Thames.