Last year, I attended the very successful Africa Open Data Conference and there I said some things that I was later told are unpopular within the Open Data industry – particularly in the civil society. On reflection, I find that I still stand by what I said then. In a nutshell:
- Motivations for Open Data matter – why people get into the activities.
- The culture of secrecy has been perfected to an art over centuries, and we cannot over turn that culture with short “pilot” projects or an app. It isn’t instantaneous.
- Hype is bad. Shiny apps can’t change culture – they back up evolving culture.
- Year zero matters – the year that establishes relationships and expectations. We can hardly be successful when we do projects for a year or less.
I recommended that we do two things:
- Go back to the basics – bring civil servants and others on board and speak less buzz words
- Slow ourselves down to ensure that our projects drive policy change and therefore culture.