A guest post from Marcio Vasconcelos, Marcio is Chief of Technology for Social Change at Avina Foundation, Open Data Latin America Initiative coordinator at Avina and civil society representative for Latin America on the OGP Open Data Working Group.
In my opinion, the problem statement formulated for International Open Data Conference action area “Capacity Building for All” is good and comprehensive. I want to base this blog post on an aspect highlighted on the first paragraph of this statement:
While some countries and cities possess an ecosystem of actors – governments, CSOs, media, private sector and citizens – with the technical capability, relevant skills and social capital to implement open data initiatives, in other parts of the world capacity is constrained, and resources scarce.
Through my experience as chief technology for social change at Avina Foundation and working for almost three years strengthening civic technology and open data ecosystem in Latin America, I think we are still not absolutely sure with are the technical capability, and relevant skills need to implement open data initiatives, especially considering the high complexity and extension of this field of knowledge.
If this is true, how can we foster open data capacity building? Of course, I doesn´t mean we don´t have good information about that. My point is that it is not systematized in a way that could be accessed by the ones that need this information.
Actually, we do have a lot of good information in various online resources such as:
- Open Government Guide
- The Gov Lab Academy
- Visualizing Advocacy (working with data)
- The Open Data Handbook
- The ODI Courses
- Data Journalism Handbook
- Research project: Open Data Educational Research & Capacity Building
- Gob – 24/7
In my mind, we do need to cope with the challenge of simplifying the huge complexity behind open data capacity building. What if we could design an “open data competency map” showing in a simple, clear and multidimensional way, all the capabilities that stakeholders in the open data ecosystem should develop in order to meet the challenge of developing such strategies in their country. Of course, this is not an easy, considering the number of issues, topics, sectors and dimensions involved, for example, as we can see at Open Gov Guide.
As an inspiration, I want to share The Information and Data Competency Map, extracted from EdFuel’s Blueprint for Success initiative focused in the education field. Another interesting example could be ODI´s Open Data Maturity Model, although I believe we will need something more extensive and complex than this framework.
I would suggest as one of the next steps expected from International Open Data Conference that a group or organizations and individuals (with different background who can contribute from theory and practice) could join forces to developed an interactive open data competency map, that could be used by any organization or individual interesting in defining a route map for increasing its capacity building. Maybe we could dream of having simple applications that could use some questions and answers algorithms to provide direct feedback of available resources online and suggestions for next steps.
I also suggest we dialogue about the relevance and viability of having this “Open Data Competency Map” as part of International Open Data Charter Technical Annex. This could be an important tool to support interested government, civil society organization, private company or citizen as an entry point to understand the complexity that represents the term “open data capacity building”.
What would be on your map of key open data competencies? How could we build such a map?