Education, assistance and enforcement are needed to build better, ethically balanced data-driven projects. The Ethics of Data workshop on the Data lifecycle discussed ethical scenarios and key aspects of a data-driven project. This lead to many sticky notes and attempts to create the big asks and some outputs. The participants came from many different disciplines, which helped us quality check and inform our review.
Our group together created 3 asks for further review:
Resources: This should be a center online for people and NGOs to share and find guides on building ethical data driven projects.
Tool/Template: There should be a data risk/benefits/costs template as part of every grant application to build better ethical projects from front to back.
Review: Could there be a non-profit assistance group that provides free, consultation on ethical questions? How would they enforce standards? Could it be like a review board for research projects?
Milestones for an Ethical Data Project:
We created over 100 ideas and grouped them into categories as milestones. There should be checklists for each milestone including key questions for the team. While the EoD team started on the mini-ethical checklists, this really needs more iteration. We also highlighted some milestones that are often overlooked or underfunded such as: a data collection checklist, pilot, quality control, verification, documentation, secondary use and impact/monitoring & evaluation. One other observation in our conversations was proper project management skills to scope many of the ethical minefields in advance of the project pilot.
Without trying to influence the room, the key project milestones resemble the toolkits we created at Ushahidi. Toolkits, including the Ushahidi one, do need to include more ethical statements/checklists to improve the success of building better projects. But, toolkits are only as useful as those who use and enforce them.
Infuse with Ethical Checklists
We gifted the Responsible Data Forum with a list of 70 questions, terms and ideas for the key milestones. If all the various milestones of a data-driven project are infused with ethical questions, checklists, and recommendations, this resource would be incredibly useful. Participants suggested that the checklists start with very generic items, but be broken out into topical domain recommendations/checklist items. This is to ensure adoption and remix in diverse fields from human rights to health to science. Some of the questions that really drove conversations included: Data analysis: What do you do when your data analysis provides negative results (from your hypothesis)? Quality Control: Can the data be re-identified? Resourcing: Who can collect the data and why? Secondary data: What is the time horizon on the data and future use criteria?
Ethics of Data – Resource Center / Review Board:
One of the outputs of our first day of brainstorming was the need to have an Ethical Resource and Review Board. The team split off to debate the pros and cons of this idea. They even determined some of the needed services such as legal referral.
The EofD team recreated a list of additional Ethics reading. It might keep you up all night with worry, but better to be ‘in the know’.
Thanks to our hosts at Stanford Center for Philanthropy and Civil Society (Kim Meredith, Lucy Bernholz, Rob Reich and Sam Spiewak) for making the Ethics of Data event possible. Thanks to my co-host Patrick Vinck of Harvard Humanitarian Initiative for great conversations. As always, Aspiration (Gunner and Misty) supported us with facilitation that inspired a collaborative and productive event for all. And, lastly, thank you to all the participants for being so thoughtful and inspiring teachers as we all trundle down this journey to bring better decision-making to all of our work.
(Note: It is my hope that we can infuse HOT with some of this work and trial some ideas in our work. I’ll be sharing it with my fellow Board members and the HOT Community.)
Ok go! This week 1000 people converge in Berlin for Okfestival with many more participating and observing online. We are here to instigate open action and open minds.
The Open Knowledge Festival 2014 will be our biggest open data and open knowledge event to date. It will be global, inclusive and participatory. We expect it to create a significant local and international surge of innovation.
Throughout the festival, I will be leading the Community storytelling team. I’ll mostly be using twitter and storify to curate stories. Also, expect pictures and maybe some videos with attendees. During this event, I am also running or assisting on a large number of sessions and side events, plus attending some key sessions.
Here’s my schedule for the following week. See some of you soon! And, for friends who aren’t here, see you online (all items are at the OKFEST venue unless stated otherwise):
Sunday, July 13th (completed)
Watch Germany win world cup, walk to celebration at Brandenburg Gate (checkmark)
Monday, July 14th (completed)
Hold informal #geobeers with mapper and activist friends in Berlin at Strandbar (so amazing, done-so)
OKfest Opening Day: Tuesday, July 15th
Open Knowledge Community Summit (13:00 – 16:00 CET)
This is a community-driven event to talk about the Open Knowledge community. See all the details. I’ll be hosting a sub-group to talk about the last 5 months of community programming and get input into the next steps.
Storytelling team meeting (17:00 CET)
Sharing stories, ideas and moments is such a big part of community events. I’ve had much practice curating and encouraging stories at large events. Join our Storytelling team and meet other digital curators. Look for folks with blue ribbons or tweet us at #okstory with blog links, videos, photos, headlines and key themes.
How to join: Review our Storytelling wiki page, add your name to our etherpad, tweet @heatherleson or with #okstory to meet team members. Our first meeting is at 5pm in the Media Hub room at the Okfest venue. We will have other informal meetings to be announced throughout the event. Stay tuned.
Come meet the School of Data existing and new fellows, local partners and team. Ask questions, get involved.
Community Drinks (21:30 – on)
The Community team is hosting an informal drinks night. Join us for chats and connecting.
Location: Prater Garten
OkFest First day: Wednesday, July 16th
Storytelling Team meeting like at 8:30am at venue. TBD, see #okstory.
I’ll be attending all the morning sessions. Truly, super excited for Ory to talk plus graffiti activists!!
Open Coalition (12:00 – 13:00)
Help us build an Open Coalition across various open organizations and individuals. We have common missions and are stronger together.
Power, Politics, Inclusion and voice
“Data, information, knowledge is created in a political environment where power dynamics dictate who is/is not included in the creation process. Unless we consider who is involved in knowledge construction we run the risk of simply entrenching existing power structures. If open data is dominated by data produced in the Global North what chance do we have in redressing the balance of power for an equitable world? “
Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team Workshop (16:30 -17:30 CET)
Join the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team, CartoDB, Development Seed, Zeit Online and Mapbox to talk open mapping strategies and tools over drinks. Heather Leson, Ian Schuler, Javier de la Torre, Alex Barth and Paul Blickle are in town and ready to connect over humanitarian response, data visualizations, OpenStreetMap and satellite imagery. We are inviting map nerds, enthusiasts and friends to join us for a mapper night. Sign up here.
Okfest Second day: Thursday, July 17th
Storytelling team – meeting tbd
Day 3 of Community Storytelling. Stay tuned for more highlights and a meeting
Crisis.net (12:00 – 13:00)
Crisis.net is a new open tool from the amazing Ushahidi folks. The team will share a demo and answer questions. I’m expecting many civil society and journalists to join in the conversations. Session details.
Low Tech Data : Storytelling and Storyfinding (14:00 – 15:00)
Rahul and Gabi will be a fantastic hosts for this session at the heart of every impact for civil society and activists. See more details:
Looking for creative ways to find and present data stories in low-tech settings? We will share our hands-on, participatory techniques for bringing people together around data to find and tell powerful stories without computers. You’ll walk away with skills and ideas to help the communities you work with!
Working with data can empower or disempower. Algorithms, technical language, unfamiliar processes – these all leave many communities incapable of working with data, or understanding data-driven discussions. Most folks don’t “speak data”.
How to Teach Open Data (15:30 – 16:30)
Join the School of Data and friends to learn best practices in teaching open data. (full details) We’ll have a world cafe to share
How to organise tech and data workshops
Building effective curriculum and accreditation
Type of education activities: a blended offline, online
Designing passion driven communities (I’ll be with Bekka from P2PU)
If I had more time or a time machine, I would attend these amazing sessions too!
School of Data Summer Camp (Potsdam) (invite only): Friday, July 18, 2014 – Monday July 21, 2014
School of Data is the division that I work in at Open Knowledge. This summer camp includes fellows, partners and local instances of School of Data. We will talk about strategies, share skills and develop plans for the upcoming year. I am specifically sharing community programming and community engagement best practices:
Building a common good unites us. This Thursday I’m participating in Next Day Better in Toronto. This is such a special event combining fun, food, art and technology to inspire people to make the Next Day Better. I’ll share the story of Crisismappers highlighting the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team response in the Philippines.
How will I make the Next Day Better?
I help people get more involved in their world. One example is supporting an open community-driven digital humanitarian response.
“We are a culture platform that builds and activates diaspora communities to create a better future. We believe that diasporas like the Philippines global community are hubs and inspirations for social innovation, incredible design, and world changing ideas. We bring these doers and change makers together to share their stories and make the next day better.”
Tickets are only $20.00 with amazing talks and food! Please join us.
Help Share about Next Day Better
We’re partnering with social innovation group @NextDayBetter to celebrate their launch in Toronto on June 19. It will be a night of inspired talks from changemakers – the #Philippines is ready for open-source mapping! If you’re in Toronto, RSVP here.
Amazing things are happening June 19 – board member/idea hacker Heather Leson will be @NextDayBetter’s launch in Toronto as they bring big-idea thinkers, amazing work doers and changemakers together. Get your tickets here.
We’re partnering w/ @NextDayBetter for their launch in #Toronto 6/19! Learn more: http://www.bit.ly/NextDayBetterTOR
The #Philippines is ready. Join us @NextDayBetter Toronto launch | 6/19 7pm | RSVP http://www.bit.ly/NextDayBetterTOR
NextDayBetter is a platform that spreads ideas and actions that make the next day better. Ideas and actions are Philippines-flavored and rooted in design, entrepreneurship and innovation.
We invite innovators entrepreneurs, designers, do gooders — both Filipino and Non-Filipino—to share their stories about creating a better future.
This year I had the honour of running a workshop with Gabe Sawhney about Open Data, Civic Tech and Hacking for Good. We made our session fairly interactive with some slides to frame questions and then 5 breakout groups to talk about everything from technology in the upcoming Toronto elections or building a civic hack lab in the city. Each group had 30 minutes to talk amongst themselves and then provide report-backs. Thanks to the MESH team for inviting us to hack the conference process and bring our civic engagement spin to the event.
Matter. Every morning we wake up and do things that matter. All of us have different versions or reasons behind “matter“. Some of us work because it provides fuel to things that matter to us like family, savings, neighbourhoods, future, or another cup of coffee. Some of us are very lucky to work on items close to our own values.
Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about how to get to the next 20000 or 2 million people who think that Open Government and Open Data Matters. Well, it strikes me that we are focusing on “matter” from the wrong direction. We are caught up in the conversations and techniques (portals, datasets). While these are very important, I think that miss the true opportunity to really talk with our neighbours. Today I am going to cite some global and local examples to highlight how we can possibly get to “matter more”.
In the community management field, we create community playbooks. These are strategies and common methodologies to support our agendas. Here are 24 things that you can do to build community by various levels of engagement from just a little bit to more of a byte to a full meal deal experience. Your community members really lead programming to guide you in your tailored choices. I’ve hacked together a data community playbook model with Doug Belshaw & Mozilla’s Web Literacy matrix to share some ideas on how we can build global communities. Let’s keep remixing. Every community is unique, but these are some thoughts on how to build openly.
Note: This is an interactive chart. Simply role your cursor over the columns to see more data.
Here is a rough edit of my speaker notes and all the associated resources:
Slide 1: Matter
Every morning we wake up and do things that matter. All of us have different versions or reasons behind matter. Some of us work because it provides fuel to things that matter to us like family, savings, neighbourhoods, future, or another cup of coffee. Some of us are very lucky to work on items close to our own values. This is a big responsibility. Not every citizen has this privilege.
Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about how to get to the next 20000 or 2 million people who think that Open Government and Open Data Matters. Well, it strikes me that we are focusing on “matter” from the wrong direction. We are caught up in the conversations and techniques (Portals, datasets) that miss the true opportunity to really talk with our neighbours. Today I am going to cite some global and local examples to highlight how we could potentially “matter more”.
As a crisis mapper, we tend to seek data and information like a high speed train of contributors and information. Some of the things we’ve learned are directly applicable to what the good folks in Ontario and Canada are trying to do.
Navigators: Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team and wider OSM community responded to the Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Pierre Beland of QC (Canada) with Andrew Buck (US) worked very closely with Maning Sambale (Philippines) to remap the affected areas. These maps were then used by the American Red Cross, UN OCHA and MSF for logistics and response. How? Map Capacity, global outreach, Consumers (people who need the data) and tools like Task Manager to make it easy to share. It was an amazing effort. I had the opportunity to participate and host events in London, UK and Nairobi, Kenya. This was partially successful due to matchmaking by navigators who acted as map mentors with new mappers. We also asked some tough questions about satellite imagery, licenses and should we use drone imagery. Drones for data collection is a hard topic. The privacy issues and data integrity were also hot discussions. We don’t have the answers but we all need to ask questions about privacy and possibilities. We should be asking these hard data questions now for our province and country.
Teaching Data Skills/Data Literacy: A data portal is not an end in itself, we need to unlock it. The Govt of the Philippines and the World Bank are working with the School of Data. My colleague is in the Philippines right now working with them on these data issues. School of Data has free courses online. Take them, remix them. They belong to everyone who needs data and data skills.
American Red Cross and HOT member Dale Kunce presents on the Impact of HOT – http://vimeo.com/91926804
Slide 3: Feelings and We are all data providers/collectors
At the OpenGovernment Partnership meetings in London UK last year, I had an “Ahh moment”. Chuks from Reclaim Naija ( a Nigerian community based organization) questioned the IATI speaker about “success” for budget data. He said “We won’t trust the budget data unless we are involved in the process.” While participatory budgeting is on its way in Canada, what really struck me about this statement was “Feelings.”
While we mosey down the Open Data is great parade, we need to talk about and deal with feelings about open data.
This brings up key questions – Do Ontarians trust their governments? Are we comfortable with the process?
Data collection and sharing is not about just the government. It is about citizens too. As we participate, we should collect datasets to compare and hold our governments and ourselves accountable. We should not wait for our government or big businesses to do this for us. This is our neighbourhood, our country too.
4. Navigation: Are we reaching people? Businesses? How will we incorporate new technology?
I worry often that as we focus on Open Data for municipalities and what we ‘those in the know’ want from Open Data. How can we focus on what matters to people? I think we need to change this conversation.
How will sensor data be used in the next 10 years?
A friend of mine is interested in water quality and sensors. He would like to implement this in northern towns because what really matters is Water. What can we do with open data, sensors, programming and community engagement in Northern Ontario? How can we apply the elements I mentioned from Typhoon Haiyan or Reclaim Naija, but for Ontario?
All of this goes back to: Who are we involving in this conversation and why? Are we asking the right questions? And, do our NGOs, Civil society and neighbours have the skills they need to use open data for their work. The answer is – not yet.
Paul Baines is leading a project across Southern Ontario about water tracking and sustainability programming. The purpose of this participatory map is to give people a shared space to mark, explore, and dialogue about a Great Lakes Commons.
Paul needs data skills and some datasets – in terms of open data for the Commons Map – He needs:
- bottled water permits for all political jurisdictions surrounding the great lakes
- city, provincial, and federal parks
- crown, shared, and private land ownership
- watershed boundaries for all jurisdictions
- native reserves in the USA parts of the great lakes
- public hiking/biking trails for the Great Lakes
- solar and wind energy locations
- organic farms locations
We’ll hold a workshop to support his project in the coming months. But who else out needs these skills? Who is navigating all these organizations and businesses from ‘yeah, open data’ to ‘how you make it work for you’. While I am not talking about hand-holding the talent, I am saying that this gap is not going away. I’m excited about the Ontario government’s and the various city governments for their commitment to open data. Maybe we need a Service Ontario approach to Open Data. In the meantime, I have hope for people like CODI – Canadian Open Data Institute and MARsDD, Center for Social Innovation and others to make it possible. We need a civil society and neighbourhood action plan. Well, beyond what the government can do.
Recently I was speaking with a Toronto businessman about Open Data. He said: “What I really want is infrastructure data to make decisions about my business.” (Specifically he wants access to public data, like conduit and pole data.) He said that the cost to get that was very very high. I have true hope that this programme and our conversations today will help Open Data matter for him and the 100 or so people that he employs.
The new Government of Ontario site is great start. You are asking for input. But – Point blank – are we asking the right questions to make open data and open government matter to most Ontarian…not just those in the “know” or “those online” or those in “niche circles”. Open Data is also really about citizen engagement and citizen data collection. This will help it be more sustainable and with a richer impact.
We need to go outside and get uncomfortable. In a few months, why not have an Open Government Kashachewan session? How can we use open data to help our neighbours who live in rural Ontario? How can we use open data to help emergency managers? These are highly complex questions that deserve our attention. Otherwise, our work is in vain and tailored for a niche audience. I think the best programmes using technology and intellect are those based on the practice of being a good neighbour. I am not saying that Open Data can solve wicked problems, but it should be part of the toolkits.
“Report author James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said there appears to be a high level of distrust among aboriginals in Canada toward the federal and provincial governments.”
Slide 6: Community Playbook: Here are 24 things that could help build your community.
Go outside, remix community play books by audiences, and ask the right questions. We need consider Tim Horton’s, Community Centers and Churches as access points to Open Government and Open Data. This is why I am excited about Richard Pietro’s OpenGov Tour across Canada or the work of Marsdd or CODI. We need more creative ways to listen and create value. Maybe we should partner with bands and artists more. How would they tell this story that is currently policy laden. We don’t know another latest, greatest ‘in python not php’ transportation app. We need to dream a bit bigger and listen, really listen to what else might matter to our neighbours.
During Open Data Day, the community in Buenos Aires went outside and made a mural. What are other creative ways that we can reach people?
Coffee chats should be around community engagement and playbooks. What are the steps by audience tip and each of the associated programs behind this?
Next steps: Here are 24 tactics and programmes that could help. By all means, remix these. Please share back your community building tactics.
To sum – There is a global community using citizen created data and building participatory data programmes. Just ask and you might find others who are using open data for a widerange of topics that matter.
GO Open Data (May 15, 2014)
What an honour it is to participate again in the 2nd annual Go Open Data event. This year I will be keynoting about Challenges and Next Steps for Open Data. Rest assured I’ll give some global and local examples from python scraping to feelings. There are some spots still open for the event. Hope you can join it! (There is a $25.00 cost.)
ICT4D Toronto Drinks (May 20, 2014)
Having attended ICT4D drinks in London (UK) and Washington (DC), I know in advance the mix of great folks. I’d like to see this as a regular event in Toronto. This is a free night to talk with like minds using Tech for Good around the world. Register here!
1st Toronto Tech Salon: How Can Technology Improve International Development? (May 21, 2014)
Tech Salons are a way to have a deeper discussion about topics. The model is much more interactive. One of the questions that is sure to stir up some great debates: “And are we actually imposing Western values and suppressing local businesses with extractive electronic tools no better than colonial powers of the past?”
This is an invite-only event, but I think there are spots still open. I love that some of the participants are focused on mobile and development. To register, click here.
Subtle Technologies (May 24, 2014)
I’ll be joining Stephen Kovats’ Subtle Technology session: Critical State Making: Applying Open Culture in Post-Conflict Development. Crisismappers and the Humanitarian OpenStreetMap team are using open technology to support humanitarian efforts. Using some of the recent examples from Sudan, Mali, and Guinea, we will talk about the complexities of building capacity with local leaders, local context and local language. It is always a delicate balance. (This
MESH – Open Data Brainstorming Workshop (May 27, 2014)
At MESH, I will be co-hosting an interactive session about Civic Tech and Open Data at MESH. We will be stirring up conversations and creating a snapshot of what MESHies think about Open Data and Civic Tech.
(There is a cost to register for this event.)
IEEE: International Humanitarian Technology Conference (June 1, 2014)
With fellow Hotties (community members of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team), we will be hosting a HOT workshop all about how technology and HOT’s processes have had an impact. We will give a walk-through about recent HOT activities including the Philippines response as well as do some hands-on mapping to show some of the technology we use. Our goal is to better connect with the IEEE community of expertise. (This is a paid event in Montreal.)
Truly it is a pleasure to have a full month of sharing and making by hosting, keynoting or participating in all these activities. Now, off to prepare. See some of you soon.
(Photo: School of Data expedition in Geneva (September 2013))
It is no secret that I’m location-obsessed. While maps are storytelling devices and are not an end in themselves, there is a connectivity to how location and storytelling provide us with common space. The Emergency Hack Labs project attempts to connect SMS, Open Badges and Placemaking to help people during times of emergency. The goals include providing volunteer engagement and peer-to-peer thanks. I wrote about this previously in Open Badges in a Crisis.
Map/Location projects with a true plan to connect the online to the offline are the most sustainable. It is more amazing some of the creative SMS campaigns that give voice. These projects during times of crisis are busy and important windows into what is possible and where some of the opportunities exist. But, we should be building them outside of emergencies and morphing them to local language and context.
Murmur is a Toronto project that uses SMS to connect people to location for stories. You can simply call a number listed on a sign in a particular place. The recording places a story or poem. The thing that has always struck me about this project is that people share and they learn the power of location. What if Murmur was installed in post-conflict zones or risk-prone regions? Local communities could curate the stories and teach in community centres. And, what if Murmur existed when a disaster or emergency happened? Would there be a difference in the community if people already felt comfortable with that style of non-threatening, trusted network program? It could start as a creative and art project, but then change gears to be a recovery and healing project to help with storytelling, remembrance and support. This is all theoretical. Technical, privacy and security issues would need to be addressed. But, expecting people to trust location and report stories with no historical community process for this is always a hurdle. Another scenario is: What if Murmur or its SMS kin was turned into a Volunteer peer-to-peer thanks model like Emergency Hack Lab?
Surely, this has all been done before? What examples can you share? I want to dig in more to understand how we can make location and online storytelling tools realistically connect online and offline during times of crisis.
So, thanks to Butterfly Bridges. With all this thinking, I am going to the park.
What can every community learn from OpenStreetmap? Often community managers particularly in OS communities cite OSM and Wikipedia as the top models to compare.
At State of the Map US, there is a whole track to share best practices. John Firebaugh (Mapbox) and Kathleen Danielson (OSM US) gave great talks on their experiences. It is a good thing they are recorded as I’m adding them both to my list of Community is hard and beautiful resources.
Community management and stewardship
In the past year, OSM has incorporated a number of big changes including implementing ID and changing the look/feel of the website. While paid staff (John) helped curate and design the process, the projects were community-driven and transparent. Listen to the talk for more in depth context and outside resources. Here are some of the core points:
Work in the open and be transparent
Call for cloture
So, at a time of change in a number of communities, we should really heed John’s sage guidance, and, of course, remix for our own context.
(Side note: organizations need to hear this loud and clear. I am very keen to see this actually occur in every community. Over the years, I’ve seen so many teaching moments. As community managers and organizers, we can only do our job to the truest form of this type of feedback if allowed to be free.)
Community starts with us online or in a room. A few hours into SOTMUS and I am even more bonded to the project, have caught up with old friends, met some new ones and feel inspired to learn/do more. Kathleen spoke about the importance of getting together locally. She provided tips and guidelines for community building and event planning. A few key points:
save community, save world OSM
Every community is unique
Take care of yourself
Community scales -up or top down
One topic that Kathleen raised is her distain for discourse loops via mailing lists. Another commenter mentioned their dislike of wiki(not always updated). I guess we could call this the old wars for communities(as one friend opines): mailing lists vs. x (x=forums, irc, wiki etc). As far as I am concerned there is no one source of truth. We need to use all communication tools to reach community where they are. Tall order, but as John rightfully pointed out: over communicate.
As you may know, I am a bit of an addict when it comes to global events. Borders dissolve and mission rises. All of us join to make our communities better. I am not a ‘coder’. As a community organizer, I am throwing my brain at helping people connect and share stories. If I can successfully contribute, so can you. I hope you’ll join your city.
The team at Open Knowledge Foundation has been supporting our local groups community and the wider network. This means we are managing the website, wiki and hosting a few online events. I’m specifically curating the wiki alongside our incredible helpful community volunteer, Mita Williams.
Dave Eaves, one of the founders of Open Data Day, and I have hosted two Google Hangouts to connect the community:
Round 1 – What is Open Data Day
This 30 minute hangout explained the roots of Open Data Day (ODD14), Dave explained the core goals and we talked about types of events along with some event planning tips.
Round 2 – What are you Doing Open Data Day
This 45 minute hangout featured participants from around the world sharing their stories about what they will be doing Open Data Day. We grappled with some tech signup issues, but folks managed to get connected both in writing and in person.
Here’s one fantastic example:
Ome Mejabi: “We are lighting up Ilorin, Nigeria at the University of Ilorin campus with Unilorin ODDC Data Hack Event coming up on February 22nd, 2014 to coincide with the 2014 international Open Data Day. Details for the event.
ODDC is acronym for “Researching the emerging impact of Open Data in Developing Countries”, a World Wide Web Foundation/IDRC funded research project.”
What am I doing Open Data Day?
My Open Data Day is actually a 3 – day weekend.
The Toronto Open Data team has invited me to join their Problem Curation Roundtable. I’d provide some input for challenge leaders.
Then, I go to Washington, DC to join the School of Data Nigeria Extractives team. We will look into contracts, datasets and, hopefully, find data on which Canadian companies are active in Nigeria.
These awards are to recognize outstanding work of an individual or an organization in the area of open data in Canada.
Three categories have been identified. They are:
Open Data Innovation Award
To recognize innovation in open data, whether with respect to policy, implementation, or use of open data.
Open Data Community Award
To recognize a significant contribution to strengthening the open data community, whether through outreach, education, commentary or otherwise.
Open Data Social Justice Award
To recognize the use of open data to increase social justice and community wellness.
What is the currency of change? What can coders (consumers) do with IATI data? How can suppliers deliver the data sets? Last week I had the honour of participating in the Open Data for Development Codeathon and the International Aid Transparency Initiative – Technical Advisory Group meetings. IATI’s goal is to make information about aid spending easier to access, use and understand. It was great that these events were back-to-back to push a big picture view.
My big takeaways included similar themes that I have learned on my open source journey:
You can talk about open data [insert tech or OS project] all you want, but if you don’t have an interactive community (including mentorship programmes), an education strategy, engagement/feedback loops plan, translation/localization plan and a process for people to learn how to contribute, then you build a double-edged barrier: barrier to entry and barrier for impact/contributor outputs.
About the Open Data in Development Codeathon
At the Codathon close, Mark Surman, Executive Director of Mozilla Foundation, gave us a call to action to make the web. Well, in order to create a world of data makers, I think we should run aid and development processes through this mindset. What is the currency of change? I hear many people talking about theory of change and impact, but I’d like to add ‘currency’. This is not only about money, this is about using the best brainpower and best energy sources to solve real world problems in smart ways. I think if we heed Mark’s call to action with a “YES, AND”, then we can rethink how we approach complex change. Every single industry is suffering from the same issue – how to deal with the influx of supply/demand in information? We need to change how we approach the problem. Combined events like these give a window into tackling problems in a new format. It is not about the next greatest app, but more about ‘how can we learn from the Webmakers?’, and build with each other in our respective fields/networks.
Ease of Delivery
The IATI community / network is very passionate about moving the ball forward on releasing data. During the sessions, it was clear that the attendees see some gaps and are already working to fill them. The new IATI website is setup to grow with a Community component. The feedback from each of the sessions was distilled by the IATI – TAG and Civil Society Guidance groups to share with the IATI Secretariat.
In the Open Data in Development, Impact of Open Data in Developing Countries and CSO Guidance sessions, we discussed some key items about sharing, learning and using IATI data. Farai Matsika, with International HIV/Aids Alliance, was particularly poignant reminding #IATI CSO purpose – we need to share data with those we serve.
One of the biggest themes was data ethics. As we rush to ask NGOs and CSOs to release data, what are some of the data pitfalls? Anahi Ayala Iaccuci, Internews, and Linda Raftree, Plan International USA, both reminded participants that data needs to be anonymized and protect those at risk. Ms. Iaccuci asked that we consider the complex nature of sharing both sides of the open data story – successes and failures. As well, she advised: don’t create trust, but think about who are people trusting. Turning this model around is key to rethinking assumptions. I would add to her point: Trust and sharing are currency and will to add to the success measures of IATI. If people don’t trust the IATI data, they won’t share and use it.
Anne Crowe of Privacy International frequently asked attendees to consider the ramifications of opening data. It is clear that the IATI Tag does not curate the data that NGOS and CSOs share. Thus, it falls on each of these organizations to learn how to be data makers in order to contribute data to IATI. Perhaps organizations need a lead educator and curator to ensure that the future success of the IATI process, including quality data.
I think that the School of Data and the Partnership for Open Data have a huge part to play in with IATI. My colleague, Zara Rahman is collecting user feedback for the Open Development Toolkit and Katelyn Rogers is leading the Open Development mailing list. We collectively want to help people become datamakers and consumers to effectively achieve their development goals using open data. This also means also tackling the ongoing questions about data quality and data ethics.