Developing an Open Data initiative: Lessons Learned

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Presentation at Botswana Innovation Hub in Gaborone on 7 August 2013

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Developing an Open Data initiative: Lessons Learned

  1. 1. Developing an Open Data initiative: Lessons Learned Andrew Stott UK Transparency Board formerly Director, data.gov.uk Senior Consultant, World Bank Gaborone, Botswana 07 Aug 2013 v0.2 @dirdigeng andrew.stott@dirdigeng.com
  2. 2. The first 3 years of data.gov.uk  Over 9300 datasets  37 GB of geo data  Public Data Principles  Open Government Licence  Transparency of salaries, spending, contracts and tenders  Four site versions, each in response to user feedback 2
  3. 3. UK Government Transparency Data For every central Ministry and regional/city council: Expenditure  Senior staff salaries  Expenses  Official credit cards  Contracts  Tenders  Organisation charts  Local service & performance data  Meetings 3
  4. 4. Leadership throughout the Organisation 4
  5. 5. Top-level political leadership essential “Greater transparency will enable the public to hold politicians and public bodies to account” “Public information does not belong to Government, it belongs to the public.” 5
  6. 6. Demand from business and citizens 6
  7. 7. Also important to have passionate team! 7
  8. 8. Policies & Legal 8
  9. 9. Clear, common, licensing approach 9
  10. 10. Standards 10
  11. 11. Make sure data is re-usable 11
  12. 12. Data Publishing – Star Quality Ease of reuse      Put your data on the Web with an Open Licence (any format) Make it available as structured data (e.g. Excel, CSV, instead of PDF) Use open, standard formats (e.g. XML, RDF) Use URLs to identify things (so people and machines can point at your data) Link your data to other people’s data 12
  13. 13. 13
  14. 14. Ensure Privacy of Personal Data 14
  15. 15. Data within Government 15
  16. 16. Focus on data on things that people care about 16
  17. 17. It’s not just about new data Scope for “Open Data” also includes data previously “published” but …  in non-reusable format  with restricted licence  only aimed at specialist groups  only for payment  only in response to requests  difficult to find data.gov.uk contains a lot of data which nobody knew was already published 17
  18. 18. Handling the concerns of data owners “People hug their database, they don't want to let it go. You have no idea the number of excuses people come up with to hang onto their data and not give it to you, even though you've paid for it as a taxpayer.” – Tim Berners-Lee http://www.ted.com/talks/tim_berners_lee_on_the_next_web.html 18
  19. 19. Release data people want 19
  20. 20. Manage expectations, prepare for mistakes “We’re making a small start next week. But eventually, it’s going to make a big difference.” “The information we’re publishing next week won’t be perfect, and I’m sure there’ll be some mistakes. But I want to get on with it.” UK Prime Minister 29 May 2010 20
  21. 21. Deliver incrementally 21
  22. 22. Not all Government data is accurate 22
  23. 23. Data Quality  Release of data will reveal issues of data quality  Celebrate greater checking of data!  Use as stimulus to  Measure  Prioritise  Improve 23
  24. 24. Using citizens to help improve data 24
  25. 25. Promote Use of Data 25
  26. 26. Recognise success 26
  27. 27. Create “Heroes” of totemic data releases 27
  28. 28. Create “Heroes” of agencies who give data 28
  29. 29. .. and “Heroes” among developers too 29
  30. 30. Creating Sustainable Applications  Sustainable apps come from social entrepreneurs – helped by geeks  Do things that matter to people  Make it quick and easy to do – “while you’re still upset about it”  Make effective use of email  Use location: input and visualisation  Build in community support, action & stickiness  Use simple design 30
  31. 31. Open Data Ecosystem 31
  32. 32. Continuously engage with developers Photos: @memespring, @MadLabUK, @paul_clarke 32
  33. 33. UK Open Data Institute  Develop capability of UK businesses to exploit value of Open Data  Engage developers/small businesses to build Open Data supply chains and commercial outlets  Help public sector use its own data more effectively  Ensure academic research in Open Data technologies 33
  34. 34. UK Open Data Institute  Running 9 months  £200m/yr savings identified  5 startups incubated, 6 courses launched, 4 hackathons  27 private-sector company paying members  Over £2m of private sector funding secured in 6 mths  1,500 visitors to London space – and provides “neutral meeting space” for government and entrepreneurs 34
  35. 35. Measure! 35
  36. 36. Measure achievement 36
  37. 37. Measure delivery and conformance 37
  38. 38. It’s not (just) an IT project! CIOs can give leadership, but  CIOs/IT Directors often do not “own” the data  Key issues are business, policy and politics: don’t let policy makers brand it as “just IT”  Keep the IT simple ‒ use Open Source (CKAN, Drupal, etc) ‒ use existing contracts/infrastructure with niche firms ‒ host data on existing websites or on public Cloud  Use revealed legacy data quality issues as spur for improvement ‒ not as an excuse for doing nothing 38
  39. 39. … and the biggest lesson of all Overcome obstacles practically by doing, not debating 39
  40. 40. Discussion? 40
  41. 41. End 41
  42. 42. 42

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