You’ve published open data, now what?

Open Data Nation, a social benefit startup company consulting cities to put open data to good use has spent the last six months, soliciting responses to the simple question, ‘You’ve published open data, now what?’ From conversations with city administrators including Chief Information Officers and civic technologists, including hackathon attendees, here are the top four consistently repeated responses:

1.    Start using open data at work.

Establishing an ecosystem within agency that supports sharing and a culture of transparency – this organically increases the number of datasets being shared and put to good use, sustaining an open data initiative.

2.    Tell others about your data.

Open datasets are hidden away, often being viewed less than 200 times per year. Swapping out some words from the famous idiom, ask yourself, if a dataset appears on an open data portal, does anyone see it? Raising the visibility of data will get more people, with different skills and interests interacting with information. Going a step further and taking their feedback – to correct errors or enable APIs - will start a conversation that adds value to open data and enables innovations.

3.    Hire data-minded people.

Attendees at hackathons are commonly looking for part-time and full-time work. Why not hire local civic technologists after observing them in action at meetups and hackathons using your data? Capture local talent to promote new policies and improve communities, by articulating the greatest needs and together building novel open data insights and solutions, such as web applications and data visualizations.

4.    Measure the benefits of open data.

If we are ever going to realize open data’s true value, we need to measure its impact by monitoring, evaluating, and reporting about how it is being put to good use. Passing open data legislation gets a lot easier once there are quantifiable metrics, news articles, and tangible products enabled by open data and developed locally.

Open Data Nation wants to work with you to develop structured activities that help you, whether you are a city, cause, or brand, to take your next step towards putting open data to good use.

Have something to add, let us know @opendatanation.

Image credit: Gustavo Devito