7 Principles of
   Democratizing Data

   W. David Stephenson
   Stephenson Strategies
   Jan. 20, 2010




This is a prev...
I’m convinced I was chosen by to write this book through some sort of cosmic joke, because I’m the least-likely person to ...
Democratize data!
            "Democratizing data makes it automatically
        available to those who need it (based on ...
Critical for today’s challenges
             •give workforce real-time information
             •automate processes
      ...
Luther democratized written word
                                                                               •390 editi...
Democratizing Data:
  How free access will transform our lives

  Ignite Boston
  Feb. 12, 2009

  W. David Stephenson
  S...
Today, there are signs of hope. Closely-controlled and long-lost data are being liberated by the growing demand for transp...
Just as the printing press transformed learning and people’s access to the word, so too the Internet, and handful of new w...
1st: become data-centric




The first principle underlying this transition is a strategic one: Make your organization dat...
2nd: free data is default




                            Data wants to be free




In the past, the default assumption wa...
3rd : structure data




  <us-gaap:NetIncomeLoss contextRef="eol_PE11373---0910-
  Q0004_STD_p3m_20080629_0" unitRef="USD...
4th give tools




The fourth principle of effective democratizing data programs is that you must provide users with the W...
5th give workers data




Curiously, although a growing range of government agencies release public data streams, almost n...
6th empower
workers, transform management




                                                      3rd provide tools
    ...
7 th      crowdsource



            crowdsource innovation




The seventh principle of democratizing data is perhaps the...
Benefits:
                  •Empower all employees
                  •Build consensus
                  •Collaborate on dat...
To learn more about democratizing data, contact:

                                                                        ...
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We Want Our Data Now! 7 principles of democratizing data

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This summarizes my concept of a transformation in which data is only entered once (by government, businesses or the public), automatically tagged with metadata, and then flows, preferably on a real-time basis, to anyone who needs it (limited only by their roles), plus tools to use and interpret the data. The results will be new goods & services, transparency, and economical operations!

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We Want Our Data Now! 7 principles of democratizing data

  1. 1. 7 Principles of Democratizing Data W. David Stephenson Stephenson Strategies Jan. 20, 2010 This is a preview of the book I’m writing, “Data Dynamite: liberating information to transform our world.” Originally I was to co-author the book with Vivek Kundra, Chief Technical Officer of the District of Columbia, and a true trailblazer in this field. However, fortunately for the US, unfortunately for me, President Obama chose Vivek to become the US’s first CIO. In less than a year, you have already how revolutionary the Obama Administration will be for transparency and access to data. It is already , accelerating a global explosion of data access that was already under way and that will in turn unleash a transformation in every aspect of our lives. I’m serious about that choice of words: data, properly used, can transform our lives for the better. In light of recent political reversals, this phenomenon of “democratizing data” is also a wise political strategy for the Obama Administration, because it can be used to improve government agencies’ operations, cut operating costs, and deliver real value to citizens, all without major legislation.
  2. 2. I’m convinced I was chosen by to write this book through some sort of cosmic joke, because I’m the least-likely person to write a book on data. You see, unlike the left-brained, analytical types who delight in working with data, I’m right-brained and intuitive. For me, data used to be good for one thing, and one thing only: figuring the Red Sox’ batting averages. But in reality, that makes me ideally suited to write this book, because it’s time that people like me no longer be disenfranchised when it comes to data. Data must be democratized.
  3. 3. Democratize data! "Democratizing data makes it automatically available to those who need it (based on their roles and responsibilities), when and where they need it, in forms they can use, and with freedom to use as they choose -- while simultaneously protecting security and privacy." "Democratizing data makes it automatically available to those who need it (based on their roles and responsibilities), when and where they need it, in forms they can use, and with freedom to use as they choose -- while simultaneously protecting security and privacy." What does that mean, and how can we bring it about? This presentation will describe the 7 principles of democratizing data, and the simple, affordable tools to make it a reality.
  4. 4. Critical for today’s challenges •give workforce real-time information •automate processes •improve government regulation •reduce companies’ reporting costs •restore public confidence through transparency •empower the public as full partners The result will be change and benefits in every aspect of our lives, changes that are particularly critical given the current global economic, social, and political challenges: •give workforces real-time information •automate previously manual processes, saving time & increasing efficiency •improve government regulatory processes by making access to reports instantaneous and shareable by all agencies •reduce corporate regulatory costs •restore public confidence through transparency •empower the public to be full partners in many aspects of of governmental and corporate activities.
  5. 5. Luther democratized written word •390 editions published in 1523. •By 1525, 3M copies of pamphlets relating to him printed •Transformed scholar- ship: original thought valued. However, we are a long way from fully realizing these benefits. Despite some encouraging experiments that I will describe, the reality is that, by and large, data has not been democratized either by government or businesses. The situation’s not all that different from the years just before 1520, when Martin Luther’s translation of the Latin Bible into German and decision to print copies, instead of hand-copy them, gave most people direct access to the printed word for the first time. They no longer had to rely on the clergy as intermediaries. The results were quick and dramatic: Luther’s works no only led to the Reformation, but to a tremendous push for literacy and the printed word. Even the nature of scholarship changed rapidly: instead of monks sitting in solitude copying ancient manuscripts to preserve them, they were freed to explore new issues and create new thought capital.
  6. 6. Democratizing Data: How free access will transform our lives Ignite Boston Feb. 12, 2009 W. David Stephenson Stephenson Strategies The current reality is that most data is pretty hard to get at, and even harder to work with. We pay taxes so government can collect data, and you can bet companies know all about our shopping habits. Our activities and lives are data’s raw material. But once they’re collected, most citizens -- and a lot of employees for that matter -- don’t have a clue where data are stored or how they’re used.
  7. 7. Today, there are signs of hope. Closely-controlled and long-lost data are being liberated by the growing demand for transparency .
  8. 8. Just as the printing press transformed learning and people’s access to the word, so too the Internet, and handful of new web-based tools, none of them radically innovative by themselves but revolutionary when combined, is making it possible, in many cases for the first time, for workers and the general public to have direct access to actionable, valuable data. Perhaps the most notable stimulus so far for such a transformation has been the Obama Administration’s launch of Data.gov, designed to make the colossal amount of data languishing in government data warehouses available to the public. Launched in mid-May with 40 data sets, it swelled to 100,000 data sets by late July. The ease of expanding so rapidly was a reflection on how much data government has accumulated without being made publicly available.
  9. 9. 1st: become data-centric The first principle underlying this transition is a strategic one: Make your organization data-centric. That means making usable data accessible to all sorts of applications and devices, automatically, and organizing all of the organization’s functions around the data, as is the case with this example from Hitachi.
  10. 10. 2nd: free data is default Data wants to be free In the past, the default assumption was that data should be jealously guarded, because it was intellectual property and gave those who possessed it a competitive advantage. The second principle, in the era of Web 2.0 collaboration, is that the default position must instead be that data should be available to those who need it, especially within organizations, but also, where relevant, to those on the outside who can use it. Contradictory to past experience, today, data that is shared becomes more valuable: as knowledge management expert Karl Sveiby says, “Knowledge grows when shared and grows when used... When you impart knolwldge, I gain it but you keep it. The knowledge is doubled. Exceptions to disclosure should be on the basis of real needs for privacy and/or security, not just past practice.
  11. 11. 3rd : structure data <us-gaap:NetIncomeLoss contextRef="eol_PE11373---0910- Q0004_STD_p3m_20080629_0" unitRef="USD" decimals="-6">882000000</us-gaap:NetIncomeLoss> The 3rd principle is that data must be “structured.” That means using XML, KML or other systems that attach “tags,” such as the XBRL ones you see here, to the numbers. This metadata transforms mere numbers into valuable data that has context and meaning. These tag systems are universal, open standards, available to all, at no charge. I want to emphasize standards, incidentally: it’s precisely because XML, XBRL, KML are universally recognized and not proprietary, that it makes them valuable: they, and the data tagged by them can be shared by all. One of the most important aspects of XML and variants is that once the tags are attached to the data, they remain attached: the package of metadata and data become “data nuggets” that can be automatically shared by other applications as well as devices. That reduces errors because the data doesn’t have to be rekeyed: you get a “single version of the truth.” Equally important, the data must be syndicated, or automatically delivered without any additional effort on the user’s part, in streams such as RSS or Atom. Whenever possible, it should be delivered on a real-time basis -- data-in-data-out -- because real-time data is most valuable to those who have to make decisions in real-time, under deadlines, and without the luxury of reflecting on the past. Does that increase the chance of distributing erroneous data: yes, but we have designed an interactive process that will radically minimize the chance of error, and tagging the data means that any errors only have to be corrected once.
  12. 12. 4th give tools The fourth principle of effective democratizing data programs is that you must provide users with the Web 2.0-based tools that will make it possible for them to really capitalize on that data. Even for trained statisticians, let alone the rest of us, data visualization tools aid in understanding complex data sets, relationships, and so on, because they take statistics and portray them graphically, which makes it easier to understand trends, possible causality, and other factors. As the acknowledged thought leader in data visualization, Edward Tufte, says, “Graphics reveal data. Indeed, graphics can be more precise and revealing than conventional statistical computations.” In recent years a number of lower-cost dashboard applications such as Tableau (seen here), as well as free web-based data visualization tools, such as Many Eyes and Swivel, have become available. They allow non-statisticians to easily take data and turn it into a wide range of highly informative visual representations. Web 2.0 tools such as tags, threaded discussions, and topic hubs encourage robust discussion of the results.
  13. 13. 5th give workers data Curiously, although a growing range of government agencies release public data streams, almost none provide them to their own workforces, to give workers actionable data precisely when and where they need it, to do their work more efficiently. The fifth principle of an effective democratizing data strategy is for agencies -- and corporations -- to follow the District of Columbia's lead, and apply the same strategy behind the firewall first, giving workers access to the same data they disclose in public data feeds. After all, employees may be struggling with incompatible data bases, may need to reach across departmental “silos” to see if there might be synergies between programs. Employees from another group may be able to provide new insights simply because of their differing life experiences and expertise. As more young workers, who have never known life without the Web, join workforces, they’ll naturally ask why tools they’ve used can’t be used behind the firewall. A data graphics project can empower them and tap their expertise. Finally, using the same data feeds to run your organization that agencies and companies furnish through external data feeds to the public and others can be a powerful way of earning public trust: you’re in essence saying we stand behind this data: we’re so confident in it that we use the same data to run our daily operations as we furnish to you.
  14. 14. 6th empower workers, transform management 3rd provide tools 3 rd provide tools Text Courtesy of NetAge, Virtual Teams The 6th principle of democratizing data is that we must empower workers and transform management: if we give workers access to valuable data but don’t empower them to use it to improve decision-making and do their jobs more efficiently, the whole effort will have been wasted. When Vivek Kundra was the District of Columbia’s CTO, part of his vision was to treat every DC employee as a knowledge worker, giving them the data they needed to do their work more efficiently plus the latitude to actually use that data as they saw fit. Managers’ roles must change also with democratizing data: they will be less the gatekeepers for data and more the facilitators and modelers of this new empowered behavior. For workers and managers alike, this new approach will require new attitudes and training to overcome habitual patterns.
  15. 15. 7 th crowdsource crowdsource innovation The seventh principle of democratizing data is perhaps the most revolutionary: to use it to invite your customers or citizens to become co-creators of products and services. That’s what Beth Noveck, now a key Obama Administration official, did prior to joining the Administration. The Peer-to-Patent program allows interested experts and laymen to become active partners in the patent review process. They have already significantly reduced the patent application backlog. Similarly, the National Weather Service now allows the public to contribute information on local weather occurrences to supplement NWS information. With democratizing data, crowdsourcing will become commonplace and will result in both improved services to the public and entrepreneurial opportunities.
  16. 16. Benefits: •Empower all employees •Build consensus •Collaborate on data analysis •Build transparency •Increase efficiency •Reduce costs •Co-create / crowdsource The potential benefits of democratizing data are many, and varied: • empowering all employees • building consensus • collaborating on data analysis • building transparency • increasing efficiency • reducing costs • crowdsourcing Who would have believed that dry data -- with a healthy dose of Web 2.0 magic -- could become the engine to empower your entire workforce, improve operations and cut costs, and unleash creativity!
  17. 17. To learn more about democratizing data, contact: W. David Stephenson Stephenson Strategies 335 Main Street, Medfield, MA 02052 USA 508 740-8918 D.Stephenson@stephensonstrategies.com .. and watch for “Data Dynamite: liberate information to transform our world ” Thank you. To learn more about democratizing data and how to create the processes and policies to make it a reality, contact: Stephenson Strategies 335 Main Street, Medfield, MA 02052 (617) 314-7858 D.Stephenson@stephensonstrategies.com

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