Can Open Data Save The Public Realm

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Presentation by Chris Taggart and Emer Coleman given at City Camp London, October 8, 2010.

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  • [Holding slide]
  • Chris
  • Emer
  • Chris: This is the question for today.
  • Emer
  • Chris: So let’s try something a bit more achievable
  • Emer
  • Chris
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  • Chris: a project that's scoped to death, so that no-one now understands what the point is anymore
  • Emer: But small, public failures; not big private failures. Big monolithic projects where ‘failure is not an option’ are more likely to fail than small innovative ones, but

  • Emer: But small, public failures; not big private failures. Big monolithic projects where ‘failure is not an option’ are more likely to fail than small innovative ones, but

  • Chris
  • Emer
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  • So what does this all mean
  • Chris
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  • This is the Director of Digital Engagement’s Twitter connections
  • The smokers’ network
  • Unconferences
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  • Chris
  • Chris: If our neighbours house burns down it affects us too
  • Emer
  • Chris
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  • Chris: information, services, support when we want it, how we want it, where we want it
  • Emer
  • Can Open Data Save The Public Realm

    1. 1. Can open data save the public realm?
    2. 2. Chris Taggart • Developer of OpenlyLocal, opening up local government information (whether they like it or not) • Developer of OpenCharities, an open version of the Register of Charities • Member of Local Public Data Panel • Member of London Digital Advisory Board 2
    3. 3. Emer Coleman • Director of Digital Projects Greater London Authority • London Datastore • TFL data • WIFI London • Crime & Health data next 3
    4. 4. Can open data save the public realm?
    5. 5. No
    6. 6. No The End
    7. 7. Can open data help save the public realm?
    8. 8. Can open data help save the public realm? aka: opening up the black box of government to keep it relevant
    9. 9. What’s the problem with government? 7
    10. 10. http://goldberg.berkeley.edu/art/big-images/ It’s a black box. You can't see the workings, still less understand them
    11. 11. It cares about process. People care about results
    12. 12. It's a complex system that’s failing under today’s demands http://www.flickr.com/photos/danielproulx/3594842434/
    13. 13. It’s obsessed with ‘scoping’ everything out, resulting in inflexible, unsuitable, unexplainable & unworkable plans
    14. 14. It doesn’t understand failure
    15. 15. It doesn’t understand failure 2. 8m £ But failure is how things evolve
    16. 16. Always looking for the silver bullet (but there are no silver bullets) http://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/4160817135/
    17. 17. But the problem for the future is...
    18. 18. But the problem for the future is... Government is becoming less powerful, less relevant
    19. 19. But the problem for the future is... Government is becoming less powerful, less relevant and with it the public sector
    20. 20. Facebook vs the British govt Who has more power? 15
    21. 21. Tesco vs any council: who decides whether a new store should be built 16
    22. 22. BP vs Rest of the World In which country is it really based?
    23. 23. How do you get things improved? The ‘proper channels’ vs Twitter/Facebook/ hyperlocal blog 18
    24. 24. So what’s it really all about...
    25. 25. So what’s it really all about... It's the network, stupid
    26. 26. So what’s it really all about... It's the network, stupid It always has been
    27. 27. The network then..
    28. 28. http://www.flickr.com/photos/psychemedia/5029872394/sizes/l/in/photostream/
    29. 29. http://www.flickr.com/photos/10727183@N07/2497817756 22
    30. 30. The network now
    31. 31. http://www.flickr.com/photos/psychemedia/5029872394/sizes/l/in/photostream/ 25
    32. 32. http://www.flickr.com/photos/thusihaveseen/2200266653/sizes/o/in/photostream/
    33. 33. 27 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdlasica/506378526
    34. 34. What defines their network?
    35. 35. Slow
    36. 36. Closed
    37. 37. Has difficulty evolving http://www.flickr.com/photos/86624586@N00/112835575/sizes/l/in/photostream/
    38. 38. Predicated on scarcity of connections 32
    39. 39. Geographically rooted 33
    40. 40. ...and our network? 34
    41. 41. Fast 35 http://www.flickr.com/photos/shindotv/2550829907/sizes/l/in/photostream/
    42. 42. Promiscuous 36 http://www.flickr.com/photos/pokpok/114311823/
    43. 43. Next to zero cost of connecting 37 http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimpurbrick/1287419645
    44. 44. http://images.cdn.fotopedia.com/flickr-2397881577-original.jpg formed in a second, critical mass in a day
    45. 45. But...
    46. 46. ...geography still matters http://www.flickr.com/photos/cayusa/3338803775/lightbox/
    47. 47. ...and who will clean our streets in the Facebook world http://www.flickr.com/photos/brabantbekijken/3838710109
    48. 48. ..and how will we have a say in how it’s done http://www.flickr.com/photos/grievousangel/140482370/size 42
    49. 49. ...and who would bother to vote for something that is powerless and irrelevant 43
    50. 50. ...and by the way, outsourcing services is currently just a black box talking to other black boxes Government Mega Big Monolithic Service Co Solutions Co Processes Co
    51. 51. so... Open data
    52. 52. opens up the box and in the process... http://www.flickr.com/photos/dcarlbom/4381005273/
    53. 53. ...allows rich, complex connections, approaches Opposite to one size fits all
    54. 54. through, learning from both ...allows failures & successes to shine Original photo http://www.flickr.com/photos/hippie/2742566760/sizes/o/in/photostream/
    55. 55. ...encourages complex dynamic networks, not sterile hierarchical organisations
    56. 56. ...encourages complex dynamic networks, not sterile hierarchical organisations
    57. 57. Has the potential to make it trivially easy to get involved aka Big Society™
    58. 58. Makes government accountable and makes all of us responsible
    59. 59. So, open data is a silver bullet http://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/4160817135/
    60. 60. http://www.flickr.com/photos/eschipul/4160817135/ So, open data is a silver bullet WRONG! There are no silver bullets
    61. 61. But it does give the public realm a chance to stay relevant
    62. 62. In brief • the rewards of failure • there are no silver bullets • open data is not just about data • government as a platform vs government as an irrelevance

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