National leaders create unique global network for open data impact

ODI connects experts and provides guidance for success

Open data experts from governments around the globe will meet today for the first gathering of the Open Data Leaders Network (ODLN). The group of senior civil servants, which has been convened by the ODI is a network of individuals leading the design or implementation of their government’s open data programmes. The network will support leaders in pushing open data to the forefront of government delivery, by sharing open data best practice and learning with peers from around the world.

The ODLN, which includes delegates from seven countries (Chile, Macedonia, Moldova, Morocco, Malaysia, Mexico and the UK), will spend a week at the ODI offices from 16-20 February. During the visit delegates will take part learning and development sessions showcasing the latest thinking in open data. They will also meet with UK Transparency Board member, Andrew Stott, with the Centre for Public Impact at the Boston Consulting Group, and entrepreneurs based at Google Campus and in the ODI’s own startup programme.

The creation of the ODLN has been made possible through funding support from the World Bank and the Open Data for Development Network, supported by the International Development Research Centre.

New open data white paper

To coincide with the ODLN meeting, the ODI is publishing a white paper: Open data in government: how to bring about change. The white paper offers guidance for policy-makers who manage government open data initiatives, to maximise their impact. It includes 12 recommendations for policy makers, based on common principles for successful change, they are:

  1. Articulate your vision, with clear examples of benefits open data will bring.
  2. Secure support for your open data initiative from both senior/political leadership and government officials within departments before launch.
  3. Combine top down leadership for your open data initiative with support for individual or ‘frontline’ champions.
  4. Build open communication and mechanisms for feedback into your open data initiative from the outset – both inside government and outside government.
  5. Set out some quick wins for your open data initiative, like releasing a certain number of datasets as open data, but ensure these are part of a long-term goal.
  6. Be flexible and responsive to the strengths and needs of different departments and teams.
  7. Consolidate your change management efforts: use your emergent leaders as peer educators and innovators
  8. Ensure there are people with responsibility for change management – supporting departments and coordinating feedback – as part of your open data team.
  9. Seek out and foster stories of the impact of open data, to help illustrate its value for government implementers.
  10. Foster external support within industry, civil society and academia to drive continued demand for open data.
  11. Introduce opportunities for civil servants to take part in ongoing learning about open data.
  12. Build metrics to regularly evaluate your open data activities.

Liz Carolan, International Development Manager at the ODI said:

I have seen governments around the world enthusiastically implementing open data initiatives, but lacking the support to overcome challenges and obstacles. With the Open Data Leaders Network, we want to create a forum where members can tap into a collective body of solutions and knowledge. The white paper will support governments around the world to embed a dynamic and strategic open data culture.