Making Data Open is not Enough

In a followup blog posting over at the Washington Policy Blog, they cover again the public records law making it possible for Bell, California to take back their City from a City Council that had clearly been a bit too aggressive in their own compensation (understatement alert).

But near the end of the Blog post they mention the better system that the State of Oregon have put forward (as compared to our new home State here in Washington). 

It is a vital point.  I am intimately familiar with Microsoft’s efforts to help governments not just open up their data, but help to make it usable by everyone.  Citizens, developers, ISV’s and other governments need to be able to take advantage of this data easily.  It is not enough to have raw data dumps pushed out to the web.  We need to ensure that the data is in forms, formats and systems that make it easy to use, extend and improve.

Open Government Data

Open Government Data: Is making gov data available enough?

Related posts:

Internet of Things


Continue to be transfixed by the Internet of Things and its application within the Gov2.0 area. 

Can we utilize IPv6 addressing to make sure we categorize our public goods (streets, streetlights, parking meters, wheelie bins) and created sociable items out of each of them.  By design, can we make the public goods interactive and can we integrate citizen engagement technologies so that citizens can interact, in real time, with the public goods that they have helped to create (and fund)?

Internet of Things: Gov20

 But to be successful in the public sphere, we will need to do some things right that we have never been very good at.  We need to get governance right.  As we open up the public world to crowdsourced impact and potentially crowdsourced management of public goods, we need to ensure that communities are included in the planning, deployment and managment of these assets.

Internet of Things can be complex, but can it organize the public sector?

Related posts:

Social Media as Economic Growth Engine: Will it Increase National Competitiveness?

Sen. Orrin Hatch met with Facebook Founder today.  Not unusual at all, especially as he chairs the High-Tech Task Force in the United States Senate.

Mark Zuckerberg at WEF talking about Governments ability to grow economies through Gov20 and Social Computing

Mark Zuckerberg at WEF talking about Governments ability to grow economies through Gov20 and Social Computing

But I did like his comments about Social Media being a great force for global growth.  And as we go through large global transitions, the playing field could tip significantly.  Countries with a lower degree of traditional developed infrastructure may have the opportunity to turn their National Competitiveness Rankings upside down.  Social Media knows no borders.  So, opportunity is truly global and equal.  It does require different and less constraining infrastructure rollouts.

Could Governments who simplyembrace and enhance the ecosystem for Social Media begin to actively outgrow their slower comparables?  What will happen if they invest in broadband deployment and ICT skill development?

What should the Social Media Growth Agenda look like?

1.  Invest in broadband deployment

2.  Develop a healthy Software Ecosystem with Local ISV Partners

3.  Tip public investment toward software development, especially micro-applications for Government

4.  Open large amounts of government data to the public with tools to use it

What else is missing?

Related posts:

Deliberative Polling: Can we turn this into Crowdsourced Deliberative Polling?

Deliberative polling has been around for a bit.  To quote Stanford’s website on the issue:

“Professor James Fishkin of Stanford University originated the concept of Deliberative Polling® in 1988. He has served as either Director or Academic Advisor for all of the Deliberative Polling® events conducted thus far. Previously he was the Director of the Center for Deliberative Polling® at the University of Texas at Austin. The Austin Center was moved to Stanford on Sept 1. 2003 and will continue under the new name Center for Deliberative Democracy. The Center will focus on research and application of Deliberative Polling®.”

The theory and action resulting from the thoughts has been instructive.  I think that policymakers have benefited greatly from the experience, but I am not entirely sure that they have hit the mark dead on.  I believe in the nature of well drawn samples and that statistics can serve a greater good.  I believe that with a truly representative sample, and a large enough one, the results can help us understand what is going on.  And with deliberative polling we can discover whether an exposure to great information will help to move populations in an honest way to a deeper understanding of complex policy issues.

The question I have is whether our newer social computing technologies and platforms can move this effort into a better set of outcomes.  What if we utilized social media to crowdsource our deliberative polling efforts.  The technology, and actually its constraints, can help policymakers better understand the effect of viral messaging within a population, a population that has self-selected interest in a particular topic via their profiles, tagging or other indicators built into new platforms.  As a result the Social Deliberative Polling (should I trademark that :) ) would also be much quicker and provide much needed clarity within a much faster policy ecosystem.

What if we could poll on an issue, provide valuable information on all sides of the issue and inform our leaders of effective ways to clarify difficult issues in days as opposed to the 6 month periods the polling and tracking polls sometimes take?  What are the risks of this?  Could folks simply ride temporal waves and make policy decisions on long term issues with short term insight?

I think that we would be better served with faster, crowdsourced results.  But I am interested in hearing what others think too.

Deliberative Government Polling in China

Deliberative Polling in China (from Stanford) - Can Crowdsourcing make it better?

Related posts:

Russia: Government Investing in Technology

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced that his government will be building a technolgy hub to help develop the sector in Skolkovo near Moscow.

For countries looking to rotate into new world economic leaders this will continue to be the model to exploit.  Develop technical infrastrucure including broadband deployment, create a healthy ecosystem locally for the development of a software based economy and utilize investment from the national governments to highlight the competitiveness of your nation, province or city.

Related posts:

WikiLeaks: Affect on Open Government Activism

In a previous post I mentioned that there are often unanticipated side-effects of open government initiatives. 

That issue is highlighted as the Afghanistan Document Release by WikiLeaks continues to grab headlines.  The real question is, should all data be opened or is there an accurate classsification system that protects the citizens need for disclosure and issues as important as national security.  I don’t want folks to lose sight of the idea that “national security” is actually equating to risking people’s lives in this case.  I realize that WikiLeaks did an admirable job of NOT publishing much of what was provided to them, but we desperately need a clearer understanding of how those decisions should be made.  We dont have the benefit of knowing what wasn’t disclosed in this case.  We asl are not certain yet what was released and what effect that will have on the safety and security of folks engaged in Afghanistan.

So, what do people out there think?

Related posts:

Canada: Toronto CIO pushing hard on Open Government Data

Dave Wallace is a great CIO with a very interesting vision for running a modern City’s ICT infrastructure, services and making ICT strategic inside the mayor’s office.

Related posts: