This video provides guidance on how to connect stakeholders to data.
- [Instructor] How might we make a community aware of the value of open data? Beyond traditional marketing methods, I'd like to briefly discuss two fun and valuable ways that communities can engage a range of people in both being introduced to open data, and to unleashing its value. I'm going to discuss hackathons and apps challenges. Let's begin with a hackathon, what is it? A hackathon is an event that brings together people with specific skills and interests in using open data to solve a problem. Often prizes are awarded to participants and teams for the best work.
The traditional participant is a software developer who uses data to build a solution. But increasingly, hackathons attract many different types of people. These include people with ideas, artists, testers, observers, and government officials. The event begins with a presentation of some problems that need to be solved. Either a government agency presents this, or community members are invited to present what they believe to be a compelling problem to solve. Available open data's promoted, and instructions on how to access are shared. Participants then opt to solve one of the problems that are presented.
The event can last just one day, or several days. Eager participants sometimes work through the night, taking short naps, and then returning to solving a problem. Hackathons are popular all across the world. They encourage use of open data, bring people together, help participants understand civic problems, promote innovation through competition, and for those involved, they're usually memorable, fun events. As a bonus, a team may even solve a problem or create a solution that is then used in the community. Expectations in creating a real, sustainable solution should be conservative, as experience suggests this doesn't happen too often.
Teams that come together to create a solution over a 24, or say 48-hour period, invest heavily in their time, but don't necessarily stick together afterwards. In other words, creating a real solution should not be the priority, it will only cause disillusionment to organizers. Instead, the focus on the other qualities, such as education and collaboration, is where the real value is. The next method of open data engagement I want to discuss is an apps challenge. You'll see that it has many of the same qualities of a hackathon, but it is designed to result in real sustainable solutions.
As the name suggests, an apps challenge is a competition to build a smartphone or tablet app to have some utility in a community. Of course, at its core is the use of open data. Similar to a hackathon, an apps challenge invites everyone to participate in a competition to solve some problem. Here's how it's different. First, an apps challenge begins with a specific team. For example, create apps that encourage more voices in local political discussions, or create apps that automate existing manual city hall service.
Then, solicit teams to participate. Different from a hackathon, an apps challenge runs over several weeks or months, with qualifying rounds as the competition progresses. The event can be made more interesting by matching professional software developers with teams for coaching exercises. Events can also include demoing prototypes at community events. By having qualifying rounds, the best solutions begin to rise, and more support can be provided by the event planners. For example, by helping to connect teams with resources such as developers and designers.
In the end, there's a grand finale where the top teams are given prizes and incentives to continue. They can include services that help interest the team to form a company, and a working space, and a public agency may even commit to being their first customer. At the end of the day, both hackathons and apps challenges and similar events are great ways to bring community members together, and get them introduced to open data and its value. To help people be part of creating solutions, instead of just bringing problems. And they are another in contemporary flavor of community engagement.
Done right, they're a lot of fun. People learn a lot, and memories are created.
Dr. Jonathan Reichental introduces real-world use cases for open data, as well as the steps you need to take to develop and operationalize an open data program. He also explains how data scientists use open data to tell stories and drive data visualizations. Along the way, he provides numerous examples of open data in action: improving government, empowering citizens, creating opportunity, and solving public problems.
- Understanding what open data really is
- Current open data efforts around the globe
- Open data in action
- Designing an open data governance process, including policies
- Monetizing open data
- Storytelling with open data
- Selling the value of open data
- Measuring the value of open data