Open Data Speed Dating at GTEC 2013

Jack Mailloux, @6t6qt

In launching the Government of Canada’s much-anticipated next-generation open data portal, data.gc.ca, earlier this summer, Minister Clement challenged Canadian entrepreneurs to mine the vast reserves of Canada’s “new natural resource”, open data, and to repurpose it into valuable, user-friendly apps, spurring innovation, boosting growth and serving citizens better.

The Minister’s call for the public sector to open up even more data was applauded by open data enthusiasts who realise the value proposition that open data presents. Curators and enthusiasts believe open data can, at least, inform citizenry. The vision of many curators and enthusiasts, however, extends beyond production of an app that displays an open data set, to an advanced vision that sees open data sets as raw materials that can be linked and forged into broader and deeper actionable intelligence.

For these passionate curators and enthusiasts, the Open Data Speed Dating event at GTEC 2013 will provide the ideal forum to engage and relate. Open Data Speed Dating will match open data owners and curators with open data enthusiasts, entrepreneurs or developers. The spotlight will be on Canadian public sector open data across all three levels of government.

The public wants and demands more open data. Realizing this, and acknowledging the potential that open data holds, governments are releasing more open data monthly. Open data portals invite citizens to “Suggest a Dataset” with the click of a button. The “new natural resource” is actually growing, and with it the possibilities.

The opportunity to drive value from public sector open data, ought to be sufficient temptation to attract a stadium full of business entrepreneurs and social innovators. There are many examples already of enthusiasts coming together to collaborate on open data apps through productive hackfests (hackathons, codefests).

GTEC 2013 Open Data Speed Dating promises to be rapid-paced and energetic (that’s the “speed” aspect). It also promises to be engaging and collaborative, with hopes of establishing longer term relationships between the participants (that’s as far as the “Dating” aspect goes). Finally, in the spirit of the “Open Data” movement, the venue will be completely open to those in attendance at the GTEC exhibition to observe the interactions and learn more about Canadian Open Data. The outcomes will be connections of people to people and people to data; enlightened participants and observers; insightful ideas and new believers. With such a non-traditional approach, unexpected outcomes are possible. Who knows?

In a setting where 20 curators engage with 20 enthusiasts in a 5 minute speed-dating format, 400 connections are made. That is 400 opportunities for an idea to incubate. Opportunities exists for curators to connect with other curators, and enthusiasts to connect with other enthusiasts AND for GTEC participants to observe and learn from these interactions.
Innovation occurs when inquisitive, insightful and challenging minds intersect. GTEC 2013 Open Data Speed Dating will plant seeds for open-data nurtured innovation.

The theme of GTEC 2013 is “Agile Government: Open, Collaborative, Mobile. Open Data Speed Dating will live up to this theme on October 9, 2013 at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Room 207 from 1 to 3 p.m. Register as a curator, as an enthusiast or just come to GTEC 2013 to catch the buzz. For details about GTEC 2013 see www.gtec.ca.

Jacques Mailloux
One of the organizers of GTEC 2013 Open Data Speed Dating