gov 2.0 expo – Day 2

Keynotes

Government as a Platform for Greatness, Tim O’Reilly
The iPhone was such a great success because it became a platform for 200,000 apps, only less than 20 apps written by apple. Government has become a platform for services. Are we able to face the challenges of the future? Climate change, financial reform, education, health care are some of the areas that we have to tackle in the future. The challenge of greatness is to tackle issuses that we not be able to win, but we have to try.

The Next Frontier: Embracing the Cloud, Linda Cureton, NASA
When the telephone was a new technology that might be used in public service, we had the same discussions as we have now, when establishing Gov 2.0 tools and services. Cloud computing is a technology that will be relevant in the future as it brings faster and cheaper solutions. Not everything is suited for the cloud; you must know what you need and should not follow the hype only. NASA members use social media in order to communicate what NASA is doing. It is a way to bring people and ideas together. Your customers will use these technologies with or without you, so you have to be there too.

Cloud Computing Services: Finding a Solution for Over Budget, Understaffed Agencies, Tim O’Reilly, Dave Girouardi, Google, Randi Levin, City of L.A.
The City of L.A. will save 5mio dollars by using cloud computing. Now is the time to start project all over again. There is a lot of misunderstanding concerning cloud computing, because people don’t know where the data is. Slicing up the data and spreading it over many computers is a scary thing to do. Consequently it takes time to establish this technology.
A lot of the technology that Google develops doesn’t seem to make profit at the beginning but most inventions are used after all. Language translations become increasingly important, but such things can only be established on large scale. We don’t know the requirements for future developments but we have to dare going new ways.

New Opportunities and Responsibilities in the Cloud, Brad Smith, Microsoft
The world is racing to the cloud – government and businesses. Cloud services are useful for businesses and consumers. Microsoft offers security that cannot be offered by open systems. Cloud computing is not making government only cheaper, but also better. Cloud computing also challenges: new infrastructure needs, new issues for privacy (Data is hosted by big companies like Microsoft or Google), new challenges for security (Some want access to the data set and information about users), new questions for national sovereignty (Where is the data and where does it go). The industry must collaborate with governments, consumers and business partners because the issues that are being addressed must be solved together. New laws have to adapt to the new technologies, as they were made decades ago. New collaboration across borders will enhance progress.

Open Data, Baseball, and Government, David Eaves, Blogger and Activist
Open Data and Open Government is old. When data about baseball became open and could be analysed by everybody, it changes the way consumers and reporters talk about baseball. It takes tome for such things to happen. Data has to be created; even citizen create data. The most critical data for citizens is 911 as they tell where they need what kind of help.

Unlocking Real-Time Data, Joshua Robin, MBTA
It is easy to find real time weather reports because national weather service is open to anyone. Usually this information is for free. Transportation information is not so easily accessible, as it is often closed. In September MBTA trip planning information became open. However, people want to know when the next bus arrives. The data was opened and 1 hour after offering there was a Google Maps app available. Within the following weeks many services were established. The innovation came from mainly from citizens. It is not the transport companies that have to offer e-services and only then provide the data; first, the data should be provided.

The Path to Open Government: The Pillars of Gov 2.0, Kate Lundy, Senator, AUS
Gov 2.0 is an evolution of democracy. The pillars are:  democratising data, citizen centric services, and participatory government. This is a change in political culture. The Australian government enforces open government on all levels of administration. New bills will be passed soon that encourage transparency and accountability.

Open, Linked Data for Global Community, Tim Burners-Lee
Data format is crucial when putting data online. Many machines all over the world can understand a bar code on a product, while the consumer information can only be understood by people who speak the language and know what the information (e.g. a pack of crisps) actually means.

Transparency is Not Enough, Danah Boyd
There are data bases that show sex offenders. However, some laws in the US are so strict that sex offenders listed in the data bases did actually not harass other people (e.g. teenagers having sex, teenagers taking sexy pictures of each other). The interpretation of data and information is crucial, as in the mentioned examples the law regulations cause misinterpretations. Sex offender data bases don’t differentiate. Information is power, that is why more and more people shall have access to information; but interpretation is more powerful. But people must be part of the interpretation process. Information is not neutral.

Creating Passionate Citizens, Kathy Sierra
What are the elements of passion? If we want passion we must find a way to kicking ass and create interest. Don’t make a better … and not a killer app – we need killer users. Would you change your life if you must in order to continue living? Only 1 out of 9 would. Passion is the Trojan Horse for participation. Help people to create special content for the web.

The Democratisation of Content, Gary Vaynerchuk
The consumer web is only 15 years old. Now we can communicate on an unimaginable scale. Word of mouth is now very strong and van influence success in all business areas. Many people said they would not need a mobile phone but now everybody got one; same is true for facebook account. The world is changing and it is changing now.

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Four Perspectives on data.gov.uk, Time Berners-Lee, John L. Sheridan, Dominic Campbell, Chris Thorpe

Tim Berners-Lee met Gordon Brown in 2009 and convinced him that it was useful to put government data online. The UK had been working in the field of open data for long time already.

John Sheridan is a civil servant dealing with public sector information. The engineering for putting data on the web really matters. Linked data is data you can click on – it brings you to new data sets. Some of the data sets in the UK could be linked pretty fast, and it was not very expensive. Dominic Campbell (FutureGov): A lot of stuff about Open Data started in the UK, but the UK was lacking leaders and opinion makers to push it forward. Public service and civil servants were driving the open data movement in the UK, whereas it was a political issue in the US. The conservative party in the UK published a technology manifesto, which was the first of its kind. The government must learn to deal with innovators in the field of web 2.0. The big 3 for government leaders: lay the foundations, foster culture change, catalyse and nurture innovation. Chris Thorpe: Data can be opened quickly. Linked data helps for instance to get to know your neighbourhood better (e.g. information about schools). We are only at the dawn of the use of public data in society.

Discussion
People in government care enormously that the data is presented properly. People in government start to realise that they do not have to care about the apps as these will be user centric developed by innovative developers. / RDF is the best format to publish public data. / In the UK both parties have taken the position that crowd sourcing and open data is useful for the government.

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Transparency Begins at Home, Richard Boly, US Department of State

How can we shift government agencies to the new paradigm of collaboration? In 1995 the NY Times stated that it takes 2 hours for one email to get to the next floor of the state department. Are social media the tipping point?

Diplopedia is a classic Wiki that is used on the intranet and enhances communication within the agency. Employers get the chance to display their ideas. E.g.: Showers for bikers and a loan-bike-system was established for employers in DC as a result of internal communication enhancement. Next step is to develop a tool for professional networking.

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Personal report: Amazing how many people are here today; there seem to be even more than participants than yesterday. While I mainly met US citizens yesterday, I realized today that this is indeed an international event. I even met someone from wien.at – wow, Vienna is here too! However, hoping from session to session doesn’t leave a lot of time for chatting. Today’s session focused much more on discussions, consequently writing blog posts is more difficult…

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