A few years ago, our session host, Rory Gianni, through being involved with several open data initiatives, saw that some went on to great success and some weren’t sustainable. One factor that seemed to make a difference was engagement – if you are not involving people outside te organisation, why are you doing it? Even if you’re being driven by the stick of legislation, you could still capture why others would be interested.
Chatham House rule session, so no direct reference to organisations or people included.
A data strategy should be in support of a goal.
What makes a good strategy useful?
What are you going to do?
How are you going to do it?
How does it fit into the context of what you are doing?
Sometimes you need to look beyond the immediate goals for open data. But it’s possible to look too high – pay attention to quick wins. What are the most effective things you can do? Those quick wins? Or doing the foundations for the next step?
If open data providers are concerned about how often their data is used, that opens the door to user research. But are they more interested in finding our what else people could do with the data? That’s a much harder task. The user research questions could easily bias the data.
Could it spiral out of control, as the definition of “user” grows too wide?
There’s a fundamental challenge around user research for open data: what would you do if you knew? also, many open data users are highly technical – is that something that makes it harder to run user research, if you’re not yourself technical?
What are the best ways to engage with open data users?
DEFRA did a Bristol user group meeting – and most of the people who turned up weren’t actually using it. They were interested, so they were only potential users. The link came through ODI Bristol, and marketing on Twitter and Eventbrite. How do you find those people otherwise? Getting in the room with people is so important.
Bristol City Council has an open data platform, and a team to work on release and engagement. They also have a mobility API for transport data. How, though, to get more people to use this lovely open data?
#odcamp moving beyond just hack days to engage with open data
— Karen Morton (@KarenMorton11) May 15, 2016
The already run hacks – they have one coming up on Saturday 21st May 2016. They also run round tables with community groups. They’re running a session with the University of West of England journalism course pairing journalists with coders to see what they can do. But they need more than hacks – they’re limited to people with a particular technical skill set.
Councils have really good data sets: but they can find it hard to find out what local communities would like to do with it. The ‘Lessons Learned’ session packed a break-out room with Open Data Camp participants keen to share their issues, ideas, and solutions to the problem.
The session was opened by Lee Dodds of Bath Hacked, who is working with council and local community to use data “for benefit of those who live in the area and those who visit us.”