Open Data Scotland (6th and 7th November 2015) — Team Advocate

We’re one of the teams who took part in Open Data Scotland’s Saturday workshop.

Much of the conversation throughout the Open Data Scotland event raised the same issue — how do you empower open data advocates so that they can make strong cases for sharing and publishing data sets. A common challenge, the need for not only strong but appropriate case studies and data stories, makes a case for building a community of case studies, enabling their everyday use reaching out to data owners with a generic flow diagram that identifies the key steps to take for success.

Collating case studies for open data advocates is not new — there are some good ones out there already (Open Data Aha!, ODI case studies, Data.Gov.UK, and Govt.NZ for examples) — but work is needed to collate, track and make available in one place. There is a rich picture out there, which not only proves the case for open data, but would help us to avoid re-inventing the wheel with apps and tools.

For new open data advocates, or anyone just trying to figure out how to find keys to release data sets, a generic problem solving approach would be helpful. We started work on one, and are looking for people to work with us.

To further explain — you go and speak to a colleague and open data. You know they have data that would be great to share; you’ve been asked for it so you know there’s interest, and you make the case. Your colleague can’t see what they will get out of it and says no. How do you convince them?

By matching relevant use cases, examples of innovative project working and generally making the proposal real to them, you are far more likely to get a positive result. However, if you are the only person in your organisation trying to make this happen at the moment, it can be a lot of work to do this for every request. So, a simple toolkit and a quick guide to case studies would be a solution everyone could use. Other benefits include:

- Spreading the open data message

- Helping re-use of open source products

- Building a network of open data advocates

We’re looking for open data advocates out there who want to work on this too. Get in touch!