Open Data Leaders Network



Summary The text below is an excerpt from the Open Data Leaders Network Digest. “How do I help my colleagues in other ministries overcome their fears about publishing data”?” “How do I sustain political support for open data beyond the next election?” “How do I encourage the private sector to use the data we are producing?” These are all common questions we hear from civil servants leading open data initiatives around the world. These leaders are entrepreneurs. They have a compelling vision about how they want to transform society, and a new tool open data to pioneer. Like all entrepreneurs, they face the uphill task of gaining support for their idea, and securing the necessary long-term resources to scale up and sustain their plans. The journey of the government entrepreneur can be a lonely one, with little in the way of supportive structures or tried and tested blueprints to follow. That’s why in 2015, we started to bring leaders of open data initiatives together to form the Open Data Leaders Network. This peer network is a space for civil servants from around the world to exchange knowledge, challenges, practices, plans and tools. In doing so, it provides a source of mutual support, inspiration and opportunities for collaboration creating conducive conditions for innovation. It is an incubator for government entrepreneurs. The digest represents a collection of reflections from these leaders about their experience in driving change, with insights about embedding reform, working in coalition, tackling implementation challenges and stimulating innovative uses of data. Also included are observations from the ODI on the qualities of effective open data leaders, the role of openness during times of political transition and the future of a data-driven civil service. While it focuses on challenges for civil servants, many of the techniques and lessons discussed in the digest can also apply to open data leaders in private or third-sector organisations. This collection is designed to provide fresh ideas, knowledge and lessons for subsequent generations of entrepreneurs in and outside of government, public policy researchers, open data supporters and innovators.