This week: Three points for effective use of open data

 
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The open government and open data movements are all about empowering citizens, users, and movers-and-shakers by increasing their access information, data and their government. This week we have three major points about how to best take advantage of the doors that opening.
 
Number one comes from The Guardian’s Policy Hub: involve the public in open policymaking, not just in the implementation. Many of the new open government initiatives focus around service delivery, but much less has been centered on opening the process for forming the policy in the first place.
 
Number two emphasizes the importance of the question “who is getting their hands on the data?” Jonathan Glennie on the Poverty Matters Blog points out that more data in the hands of the already powerful who may be used to manipulating data to tell the story they want is not so helpful. However, data in the hands of the poor, the ignored, the disadvantaged, that makes it worth it. That gives them a tool to set positive change in motion.
 
Number three is for those who are trying to influence those who have the power to make wide-scale change happen, our leaders. Sina Odugbemi tells us Why Influencing Leaders Requires a Willingness to Hug a Porcupine. You might have all the data that shows a=b, but if you don’t accept that there is more than just “a” and “b” in play, leaders aren’t going to take you seriously. Every decision that leaders face holds many levels of complexity that needs to be appreciated for you to gain their trust and their ear.
 
To sum up: The service window shouldn’t be the only public area. Put data in the hands that are empty. To gain a listening ear, you first need to give an understanding one.
 

Weekly updates are written by Taryn Davis of Development Gateway; email her your tips for next week's update to get a shout-out in the post.