Project Bijou

Change behaviour | Shift culture | Reduce harm

What is Project Bijou?  
It’s an ODPA social initiative that encourages everyone to share stories, knowledge and experiences related to ethical data use, in a way that benefits everyone. Its aim is to support and nurture positive cultural change around how people and organisations treat people’s data. It seeks to engage people on a cultural level rather than simply on a legal/compliance one.

  • What is one of the most powerful influences on compliance (with laws/rules)? Our behaviour.
  • What is one of the most powerful influences on our behaviour? Culture.
  • What is one of the most powerful influences on culture? Stories.


Why stories?  
Stories can be powerful tools to give shape and meaning to aspects of our lives. They encourage you to see things you didn’t see before, to make a connection, to increase knowledge and understanding. We want to harness that to build a culture on genuine commitment to the human values that underpin data protection legislation.

Project Bijou’s Story 
In the 1920s people started noticing holes in milk bottle foil lids on their doorsteps. A small number of resourceful blue tits had made these holes because they had worked out that there was delicious cream beneath the foil. By the 1950s, blue tits all over Britain had learned this. The birds had shared useful information that benefited their species by teaching each other how to reach the cream. This concept is the backdrop to Project Bijou, the ‘cream’ is engaging everyone in why we must treat people’s data well. 

Asking people to share human-focused information with each other, within the construct of Project Bijou, will hopefully lead to: 

  • informed ethical decision-making; 
  • more organisations focusing on human values, 
  • which in turn will lead to better protection of people’s rights, and harm reduction. 

Which is the very thing The Data Protection (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law, 2017 [the law the ODPA regulates] seeks to achieve. 

What to do as a Project Bijou participant 
Three simple steps: 
1. Talk with people about this project. Use trusted human-to-human connection on an emotional level, perhaps through telling them a story of how people can be harmed by their data being misused. 
2. Challenge how personal data is treated in your own workplaces. 
Shift questions from “Can we do this [with people’s data]?” to “Should we do this [with people’s data]?”. 
3. Lead the change in behaviour (personal and organisational) towards solutions/outcomes where all people are treated with dignity and respect.

Why should you get involved? 
Joining the project lets you play a part in creating real, positive change in how people’s data is treated. Data harms are real, and they can affect people, organisations, and society in profoundly damaging and long-lasting ways: we all need to face this reality and take action to protect each other.