Friday, March 19, 2010

Column:What Excites Me About Open Data

As a public servant who is often frustrated by the lack of information-sharing within public sector organizations, I can only wager a guess at what it is like to try to get information when you are outside them.

Naturally, whenever anyone mentions open data I get excited.

I get excited about the efficiencies I think it can create within and between public sector organizations.

I get excited about how I think it may shift workflows.

I get excited about how it can change the relationship between governments and citizens.

I get excited by the fact that it should allow governments to provide more efficient services at the click of a mouse, while freeing up resources to nurture a closer relationship between government and citizens when it makes sense.

I get excited about getting access to information that is otherwise buried under an immense transaction cost.

I get excited about the possibility of serendipitous discovery of partnership opportunities.

I get excited about a robust management framework that I think an open data regime will require.

I get excited about the internal human resource reallocation that I think will follow an open data regime.

I get excited about the fact that open data helps build a public service culture based on stewardship, one that is okay with outcomes that aren't entirely predetermined, one that is about enabling innovation.

I get excited about open data because it gets us closer to the idea of government as platform; a platform that enables both those on the inside and on the outside to innovate.

From Excitement to Action

I get excited when I see Chuck Shawcross, Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Information Officer at Environment Canada stand up at the last Web 2.0 Practitioners meetup, self-identify as a champion for open data, and issue a call to action.

I get excited not only because of the immense value of such an undertaking, but because I know many of the people working on the initiative.

These are good people, people who care, people I am proud to call my friends.

Get Involved!

If you are a part of the (Canadian) federal family and would like to get involved with this initiative I would encourage you to visit the Open Data page on GCPEDIA directly. Moreover if you happen to have some time today there is a meetup planned.

If you are outside the Canadian Federal Government and have an interest in Open Data writ large, feel free to drop me a line; if I can, I would be happy to connect you with others.

Note that while we work as public servants this is entirely our own initiative and what we post here does not necessarily reflect the view of the government, our offices or our positions there in.

Notez bien que nous travaillons commes functionnaires, ceci est entièrement notre propre initiative et ce que nous publions sur ce site ne reflète pas nécessairement le point de vue du gouvernement, de nos organisations ou de nos postes.