My take-away points from the first ODI Summit

As the Open Data Institute celebrates its first birthday, I was lucky enough to be able to attend their first annual summit and Gala dinner. Here are my take away moments from the day, rough and ready.

The ODI Summit attendees gather for the gala dinner

The ODI Summit attendees gather for the gala dinner

  • Take-aways from the ‘fireside chat”:
    • It was great to hear Sir Tim Berners-Lee describing the pivotal moment when Gordon Brown – the then Prime Minister – said “Yes” to putting government data on the web.
    • Open data is still seen as geeky and unapproachable – a lot more work is needed to evidence the power of data to transform lives.
    • Open data is just as important to the country (any country) as the power distribution network, or the road infrastructure
  • It was great to see that, in just 12 months, the ODI is already a global organisation with the creation of ODI Nodes – businesses, academia and NGOs working together.
  • “We build tools that make data actionable for citizens” – Catherine Bracy, Code for America
  • “The Smart City is dead. Long live the Smart Citizen” – Drew Hemmet, Future Everything and ODI Manchester
  • “Sometimes [you] have to push hard to get key data open” – Sir Nigel Shadbolt highlighting that there is still resistance to the Open Data movement / concept
  • Take-aways from the Finance & Politics panel discussion:
    • There is a need for ‘data aggregators’ (businesses, individuals and tools) to help identify value in divers open datasets
    • The US Government treats open data as a strategic asset
    • Open complaints data helps identify, prioritise and economise service delivery
    • There is enterprise in blending proprietary, open and observed data (e.g. social media streams)
    • There’s a clear correlation in the private sector between transparency and public approval
  • Mike Flowers – Chief Analytics Officer, NYC – is a great speaker and passionate about his role in NYC’s open data commitment. (Here’s a write up of the work he’s done for the city.)
  • Liam Maxwell stated (and in retrospect it seams obvious) that “Government is a data business”
  • Take-aways from the “Open for Business” panel discussion:
    • After resolving the Millennium bridge wobbles, Arup made all data and diagnostics open and freely available. At the time is was seen as a PR stunt but the data has been used and now more and more companies are doing the same.
    • Bank data is (should be) owned by the customer – when they switch banks they should be able to take it with them.
So there you go – I said it would be rough and ready. Comments and questions always welcome.

Open Data vs The Information Commissioner

I’ve just got round to reading yesterday’s blog post, on the Guardian’s Kable channel, regarding the pursuit of data breaches. Whilst absolutely necessary that breaches of private, personal and / or sensitive data should be admonished, I can’t help thinking that the statement will make public bodies and organisations (particularly the NHS, with the most breaches, according to the article) less inclined to further the Open Data cause.

I hope that the Commissioner will work with these organisations and not against them  in making sure that we have good, relevant, non-sensitive and, above all, open data.