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OKFestival 2012 One Month Later: Successes and Happy Tidings

Kat Braybrooke - October 29, 2012 in Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKFest

Image thanks to d2s on Flickr, OKFest 2012

OKFest participants start to give Hans Rosling a standing ovation. Image thanks to d2s on Flickr.

For the past month since the last OKFestival 2012 pioneers departed from Helsinki’s misty shores, I’ve been wondering how to breach the topic of a “thank you” message to the remarkable community that made this highly experimental event, run on a shoestring budget with a crowdsourced programme, such a spectacular success for Finnish and international guests alike.

Indeed, how does one adequately thank the 1,000+ physical participants from over 50 nations who resulted in a completely sold out event? Or the 12,000 viewers of our online video streams who augmented the festival’s programming using the Internet as a communication tool? Or the 214,000 cyberspace warriors who shared our OKFestival Slideshare Presentation to their colleagues and governments? How about those who flooded Twitter with over 18,000 #okfest tweets and those who published articles and blog posts on their own time, contributing to more than 200 features in mainstream and indie media? And how about the festival’s 100 Guest Programme Planners, 60 #OKFestCrew volunteers, 400+ session facilitators, satellite event planners and keynote speakers, together featuring 300 presentations about topics as diverse as Open Development, Open Hardware, Open Government and Open Sustainability?

Hackathons were held in the beautifully-designed HACK space. Image thanks to photographer Veikko Kahkonen.

Needless to say, it has been exceedingly difficult to describe what the experience of such a remarkably positive event was like for those who could not join us this year. How does one explain that the air in Helsinki felt thick with the sense of new opportunities? How does one describe what it feels like to glimpse a movement in the midst of its own community renaissance? With over 355 hours of recorded video footage from seven simultaneous lifestream recordings of OKFestival 2012 sessions, workshops, satellite events and receptions, and hundreds of Flickr photographs and participant feedback forms to sift through, the production of final reports has been slow-going for all involved.

And yet, the picture of the OKFestival 2012 experience has started to become clearer as we sift through these reflections, piece by piece. Last week we found that 96% of OKFestival 2012 visitors have rated the festival’s content as ‘very interesting’ or ‘interesting’. We realised that over 19,000 people have now watched Hans Rosling’s OKFestival keynote speech on the Web alone (and this doesn’t count the hundreds who watched him in-person that night, who gave him a standing ovation, and who left with tears in their eyes). The amazing hackathons and hands-on workshops that made the week so interactive have given OKFestival major press features in hundreds of newspapers, TV channels and radio shows around the world, from WIRED to Finland’s largest news outlet Helsigin Sanomat to Le Monde to ZDNet.

Image thanks to d2s on Flickr, OKFest 2012

The main INSPIRE space buzzed with tech-focused activity and conversation throughout the week. Image thanks to d2s on Flickr.

In the end, the greatest success of OKFestival 2012 was its welcoming atmosphere – and this fact is entirely thanks to the participants themselves. “Attending OKFestival for the first time, I was so heartened at seeing what I kept on calling in mind, ‘My community, my tribe’. It will be hard for me now to go to other events, because I will end up judging them against the OKFestival, and they will fall short,” said a Creative Commons employee from the US, and he wasn’t alone. Many participants described having arrived alone as strangers, hopeful and nervous – only to leave the week with hundreds of new friends.

This feeling was enhanced by the hands-on participation of more than 650 organisations, companies and universities, from Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to IBM to the Sunlight Foundation to YLE to Tieto Näkyväksi to Forum Virium to the Aalto Service Factory. I had a massive smile on my face every time I glimpsed the enthusiasm with which everyone got their hands dirty, working together to scrape government datasets and discuss open government practices, to learn introductory coding practices, to further open access and education, to help build Open Source CNC Mills in the FABLab, to collaborate around the cultural commons, to build new visualisations with data journalists and to meet open knowledge advocates from around the world. And each session benefitted from the diversity of such a mixed crowd – designers, businessmen, activists, educators, hackers and government officials beautifully jumbled together with an equally fascinating combination of methodologies, backgrounds and ideas. The results of these collaborations were both inspiring and overwhelming.

OKfest 2012 image thanks to d2s

Hackers gave free workshops on open mobile hardware, open design and open transport. Image thanks to d2s on Flickr.

Indeed, on the first day of OKFestival, “overwhelming” was the predominant word cited by almost everyone. We stood aghast at the growing line of those who hoped for a ticket despite warnings that the event was already sold out. As event organisers who had previously run smaller community conferences like OGDCamp and OKCon with audiences of less than 500, we were baffled by the magnitude of it all. We worried that the experimental, crowdsourced nature of OKFestival’s programme mixed with a very contemporary venue and under-capacity keynote theatre would spell disaster. We barely slept for weeks beforehand, preparing endless schedules and documents and webpages until dawn. And yet, we needn’t have worried.

This year’s Open Knowledge Festival was the first event of its kind to address open knowledge on such a large scale – and its overwhelming success has marked a significant push forward for open knowledge movements both in Finland and abroad. A Finnish open knowledge organisation, Open Knowledge Foundation Finland, will be founded to continue the festival’s legacy in Finland, and next year we will publish The Open Book to showcase ideas highlighted by topic stream organisers and programme planners last month. And to reinforce the community-driven spirit of this event’s planning, we intend to release the OKFestival 2012 budget to the public later this year.

Best of all, in 2013, the Open Knowledge Foundation will continue the legacy of this event by holding the next Open Knowledge Festival in Geneva with local organisers in Switzerland. In 2014, the location is up for grabs. “I got ‘movemented’ and want more!” a local Finn wrote to us after the festival – and I speak for everyone on the 2012 Organising Team when I say I also can’t wait to see the next instalment of this unique community experience. I give my deepest thanks to our 2012 partners the Finnish Institute in London and Aalto Media Factory, to the Core Organising Team and to our Guest Programme Planners and volunteers. You have each been amazing – and you made this year’s event an unforgettable experience.

OKFestival’s beautiful nametags were designed and built in-house with the Aalto University FABlab lazer cutter.

To view more information about each of the 13 Topic Streams of OKFestival 2012, feel free to browse their summary pages on the online. You are also welcome to browse the numerous OKFestival video archives and photo archives.


2 Weeks Left Until OKFestival! Online Schedule, Calls for Participation, Evening Events and Free Hackathons

Kat Braybrooke - September 5, 2012 in Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

OKFestival 2012 by Juha Huuskonen

A Special Gift for Festival Participants…

For the 600+ brave souls already registered for the world’s first-ever Open Knowledge Festival, here’s our first-ever participant bulletin! The gems and secrets below have been built from the weekly-curated, community-written summaries we’ve been sharing behind the scenes with our teams of Guest Programme Planners around the globe – and with less than two weeks left until we all meet in Helsinki, we hope they will leave you feeling as excited as we all are for what’s yet to come.

Haven’t joined the movement yet? Tickets are almost sold out, but you can grab the last few online. Still unacquainted with the OKFestival movement? Confused about all the fuss? We’ve also published an introductory summary which explains the festival and how it combines OGDCamp and OKCon. Now, on to the exciting bits:

An Interactive Online Schedule

Thanks to the tireless work of over 100 OKFest organisers and Guest Programme Planners, the entire OKFestival Schedule is now online. This year’s programme is amazingly diverse, with over 13 guest-planned Topic Streams from “Transparency and Accountability” to “Openness in Sustainability”. A summary for each of the Topic Streams active during the OKFestival week is also online, and we are finalising our morning INSPIRE Plenaries, which will gather all OKFest participants together for an inspiring introduction to the day before topic stream programming starts. An increasingly prestigious list of Keynote Speakers, from Hans Rosling to Anneli Jäätteenmäki to Farida Vis to Carl-Christian Buhr to Carlos Rossel, have finalised their participation and will honour us all with their ideas.

Crowdsourced Evening Events

Evening events and receptions during the OKFest week are now being finalised and planned collaboratively by participants, and we want you to get involved! Current events being planned include an OKFest Welcome Reception, a Helsinki Hacks & Hackers meetup, a craft beer festival, a Helsinki bar hop, the Open Sauna Evening, a Proactum Meetup for “Open Source-minded people”, and a series of Thematic Dinners based on the Harvard Berkman Centre model. Get involved by hosting a thematic dinner or another event on the group planning pad.

Active Calls for Participation & Free Public Hackathons

With the 2012 theme of Open Knowledge in Action”, getting involved is one of the most important parts of the OKFestival experience. This week is about looking at the value that can be generated by opening up knowledge, the ecosystems of organisations that can benefit from such sharing, and the impacts that transparency can have in our societies. With an ever-increasing list of (free!) public hackathons, festival workshops and hands-on workshops, there are many ways to get involved. Here is a snapshot of the many Calls for Participation during the festival week:

  1. DATA JOURNALISM HACKATHON: A day to design and build a functional news application from open government data. Finland’s biggest newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, invites coders, designers and journalists to its Data Journalism Hackathon. Using data from the World Bank and other groups, you will be able to create a working app or visualization from scratch. Space is limited and registration closes Sept 10th, so please RSVP online.
  2. TAKE ACTION LIGHTNING TALKS: For those working to increase gender equality and diversity in their work, the Wikimedia Foundation is hosting TAKE ACTION, a set of public lightning talks with 12 spots available until Mon, Sept 10th – get involved on the planning pad.
  3. DATA CUISINE WORKSHOP: You’re invited to the world’s first open data cuisine workshop, the “Art of Data Cooking“. Send an email to opendatacooking (AT) pixelache.ac. Capacity is limited.
  4. CULTURE & SCIENCE HACKATHON: Cultural Heritage and Science meet for a joint Culture and Heritage Hackathon on Tues 17th Sept. Join a Wikipedia edit-a-thon, work with newly released datasets, develop a brand new PyBossa app or hack for Louhos research software libraries – plus much more! All ideas welcome – if you have a hackday activity, please share it. Numbers are limited – please use the sign-up form to get involved.
  5. OPEN PEER LEARNING WORKSHOP: Outside of open communities, few people know how to apply “open” tools, practices, and standards to their work. Creative Commons, P2PU, and the Open Knowledge Foundation will introduce the School of Open and the School of Data, followed by a Q&A and a hands-on, creative workshop to prototype “open” challenges and courses. Particpants will take an “open” learning challenge and design their own in culture, education, research, or data. Space is limited – please use sign-up form to RSVP.
  6. OPEN DEVELOPMENT HACKATHONS: On Thurs 20th Sept, Open Dev planners will be hosting the third event in the series of 2012 Development Data Challenges – a hackathon. As this is an open (and free!) event, coders and interested folk are invited to create new ideas for making aid and development data more accessible. There will also be an exciting opportunity to hack land data, hosted by the folk at the Land Coalition, and to join in with the Helsingin Sanomat hackathon on Fri 21 Sept. All hackathons are explained further on the OKFestival site. Space is limited – email opendevelopment (AT) okfestival.org to RSVP.
  7. OKFEST HELSINKI PHOTOWALK: On the Sunday before OKFest, you will also get the chance to see the most of Helsinki through your own lens during the OKFest photo walk. Organisers Peter and Irmeli will take you to several beautiful and historical places in Helsinki. The day will start with an interactive lecture on the meaning of mindful seeing and noticing within curation, utilization and collaborative (re)construction of open knowledge. Space is limited and registration closes Sept 15th, for more info see the Public Pad. And be sure to bring your camera!
  8. OPEN TRANSPORT WORKSHOP: On 17th Sept, the ePSIplatform team in conjunction with the Open Cities Topic Stream is hosting a sectoral workshop on Transport Data with a focus on fuelling future mobility and smart cities. The workshop is a round table meeting of transport data holders (ao HSL, Trafi, SNCF), open data policy makers (ao DG MOVE) and (new) re-users (ao OSM, iRail, Trafiklab, Samtrafiken, Google Transit). Interested in getting involved? There are still a few seats left – register today!
  9. SURVEY ON OKFEST DIVERSITY: The organisers of the Gender & Diversity Topic Stream session “Exclusive Diversity: A Conversation” have prepared a short Online Survey to get anonymous data on OKFest participants for use in the session. Your contribution would be very much appreciated, and useful for their efforts to make future Open Data “crowds” more inclusive.

The Continuation of a Movement

In an era of global digital communications, significant benefits are gained in all sectors of the society by opening up knowledge, including science, culture, governance and economy. What will happen when hundreds of community-builders, developers, scientists, academics, government and civil society representatives, teachers, students and open data experts descend on the shores of Helsinki to build new things and provoke positive change together? What will happen when participants adventure through Europe on the way to OKFest as Billy Meinke from Hawaii has done, or share their findings with key organisations like Creative Commons as Jane Park has done? What happens when Members of the European Parliament meet those organising citizen movements, when organisers of the Open Government Partnership meet those working towards open education, open hardware and Open Source software? The results are yet unknown, but they’re giving us all a great deal of hope for what’s ahead in Helsinki. Until then, we look forward to meeting you all in a few weeks!


CC BY-NC-SA photo taken by OKFestival’s own Helsinki-based Production Coordinator, Juha Huuskonen. Original photo on Flickr. More photos of OKFestival on Flickr Pool. For more information about OKFestival 2012, go to okfestival.org.


A Brief Summary of the World’s First Open Knowledge Festival

Kat Braybrooke - August 21, 2012 in Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

okfestival 2012

With only 4 weeks left until the OKFestival week starts in Helsinki, here is our latest rundown of everything you need to know about the event. We’re very excited about what’s in store for participants this year!

OVERVIEW

New to OKFestival? We are delighted to invite you to this year’s event in Helsinki, Finland – a series of hands-on workshops, talks, hackathons, meetings and sprints organised by a wide range of open knowledge communities around the globe. OKFestival 2012 combines the themes of our annual Open Government Data Camp (OGDCamp) and Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) into a week of action and inspiration organised by the Open Knowledge Foundation, the Finnish Institute in London, Aalto Media Factory along with hundreds of Guest Programme Planners. With over 400 tickets already reserved by participants from more than 40 nations, OKFestival is the one of the world’s largest open knowledge events to date – and we want you to join us.

DATES & ACCOMMODATION

OKFestival 2012 runs from Monday 17th to Saturday 22nd of September. We offer both day and week tickets, with week tickets covering all three of OKFestival’s action-packed Core Conference Days from Tuesday 18th September to Thursday 20th September.  A variety of Satellite Events are also running before and after the event, with a summary and debrief day on Friday 21st September. From Couchsurfing with Finnish locals to hotels in downtown Helsinki, there are many affordable travel and accommodation options available to make your stay in Finland a great one.

FESTIVAL PROGRAMMING

The 2012 theme of OKFestival is Open Knowledge in Action, looking at the value that can be generated by opening up knowledge, the ecosystems of organisations that can benefit from this, and the impacts that transparency can have in our societies.

This year’s schedule is diverse, with over 13 guest-planned Topic Streams from “Transparency and Accountability” to “Openness in Sustainability” including programming such as:

BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY

Tickets are available online - reserve yours now to join the largest open knowledge crowd of the year in Finland. Tickets are selling fast and our list of confirmed festival attendees continues to grow, with participants from Jyväskylä to Guyana.

GET IN TOUCH

Have questions for our Topic Stream planners or the Core Organising Team? Want to get involved by proposing a satellite or evening event? Feel free to contact our Guest Programme Planners via email and get involved on Twitter, on our Facebook group and on the public Flickr Pool. We look forward to meeting you in Helsinki this autumn!


OKFestival Updates: Early Bird Ticket Extension, Developer Travel Bursaries and Open Data Cooking!

Kat Braybrooke - August 5, 2012 in Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKFest

okfestival planning in helsinki, 2012

For those just arriving back to daily life after the summer holidays (and the Mars Curiosity landing!), we have some good news regarding OKFestival – our Early Bird ticket deadline has been extended to this Wednesday, August 8th, 2012.

This will give you more time to get those tickets reserved well in advance so you can start planning your week with us in Helsinki, Finland this September.

While we’re at it, a few more bits of OKFestival-related news:

  • The organisers of the world’s first open data cuisine workshop, the “Art of Data Cooking”, would like to invite you to their event here. Interested parties are encouraged to send an email to opendatacooking AT pixelache.ac as capacity is limited.
  • We’re still finalising the details, but there will be two exclusive announcements during the OKFestival week regarding Europeana and the EC Open Data Portal – stay tuned for more info.
  • Applications for Sida’s Travel Bursary Scheme for development practitioners and coders are also open until August 8th.
  • For those who didn’t propose a session in time, but still want to share their projects with OKFestival participants, we’re working on a public Lightning Talk Corner in the main atrium of Aalto University. Details will be released before the festival begins so you have time to prepare.
  • Coming to Finland and want to stay with a local Finn? The OKFestival Couchsurfing community is growing, and invites those interested in hosting or being hosted to get involved.

With hundreds of tickets already booked in the last month alone by government representatives, programmers, civil society members, hackers, students, teachers and open knowledge advocates around the world, festival organisers are becoming increasingly excited about what is in store for all of us this autumn.

We already can’t wait to see the new ideas and projects yet to come – and our teams of Guest Programme Planners are working hard to finalise the details of their programmes for public release later this month.

As the countdown continues, we encourage you to talk to other festival participants on Twitter using the hashtag #okfest. Want your tweet shared with the entire OKFestival community? Drop a line to @okfestival. We are also talking on Facebook here.


OKFestival 2012 runs from the 17th to 22nd of Sept in Helsinki, Finland. More info: okfestival.org.


OKFestival 2012 Goes Global: Early-Bird Tickets, Travel Bursaries and the Metamorphosis of a Movement

Kat Braybrooke - July 18, 2012 in Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

okfestival 2012 planning

As the 2012 Open Knowledge Festival‘s organising team released Early Bird Tickets a few weeks ago from sunny Finland, we witnessed something exciting. The many experimental threads that have, until now, existed only as a complex web of planning based on two public Calls for Proposals (and a great deal of Skype meetings!) have starting to form something wonderful, and international communities are noticing.

Indeed, glimpses of OKFestival’s growing community of passionate folk are becoming increasingly evident across the Web. Our handmade ‘OKFestival in 14 Slides‘ Slideshare presentation has gone viral with over 30,000 views in the last two months alone, causing it to be featured on the homepage of Slideshare.net as its “Most Shared Presentation” of the week. Social media outlets are buzzing with conversation from across the globe on the festival’s Twitter and Facebook accounts and via hundreds of public #OKFest tweets. The list of confirmed festival attendees continues to grow daily with participants from Jyväskylä to Guyana.

An Action-Focused Schedule of Core and Satellite Events

To augment these community movements, OKFestival’s team of over 100 (largely volunteer-based!) Guest Programme Planners from around the world have been hard at work, finalising their diverse programmes for all 13 of the 2012 festival Topic Streams.
The Core Organising Team is confirming an increasingly-imminent list of Featured Speakers, from the Gapminder Foundation‘s Hans Rosling to Stanford University‘s Tanja Aitamurto to the Free Software Foundation‘s Karsten Gerloff and Urbanscale‘s Adam Greenfield.

The week itself, which combines the themes of our annual Open Government Data Camps (OGDCamp) and Open Knowledge Conferences (OKCon) into a series of participatory workshops, panels, hackathons, lectures and meetings, has continued to impress (and amaze!) all of us on the organising team. We have just confirmed the world’s first “Art of #OpenData Cooking” workshop. The ever-inspiring Open Development Topic Stream organisers have released a post explaining why the development community should come to Finland.

And from a Green Hackathon with CESC and the Open Knowledge and Sustainability Topic Stream, to Open Government Partnership-focused programming organised by the Transparency and Accountability Topic Stream, to hackdays themed around Building the Cultural Commons and #OpenScience, to Calls for Papers for Open Data Academic Research sessions and hands-on open hardware workshops in Finland’s first FABlab, to developer meetings about Open Source software with Finland’s OpenMind conference organisers, there is quite literally something for everyone.

Buy a Ticket, Join the Movement

Best of all, OKFestival Early Bird Tickets are now available at discounted rates until August 1st.

This year we offer both day and week tickets, with week-long tickets covering all of OKFestival’s action-packed core conference days from Tues Sept 18th to Thurs Sept 20th, with a summary and debrief day on Fri Sept 21st. A diverse variety of Satellite Events are also running before and after the event.

More Travel Bursaries for International Guests

Having trouble making it to Helsinki? Earlier this summer, we also to release over 10,000 EUR in Travel Bursaries to help those with limited financial resources take part in the festival. With over 100 talented folk applying, choosing the final list of bursary recipients became an extremely difficult decision!

Given this, we are very happy to announce another round of Travel Bursaries for development practitioners, coders and new international guests thanks to Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency), the Sunlight Foundation and other programme partners. Deadlines for this (last!) round of Travel Bursaries are the 1st and 8th of August, so we recommend applying soon. Applications can be found here.

Lastly, for students and other participants who want to get more involved in the festival itself in return for a free weeklong OKFestival ticket, we also offer the #OKFestCrew Volunteer Scheme, which slots potential crew members into positions fitting their skills and provides the opportunity to engage with the backstage planning that goes into the organisation of a major international festival.

Get in Touch

Have questions for our Topic Stream planners or the Core Organising Team? Want to get involved by proposing a satellite or evening event? Feel free to contact us via the following email addresses here and say hi on Twitter. We’d love to hear from you – and in the meantime, we look forward to meeting everyone in Helsinki this autumn!


OKFestival 2012 runs from the 17th to 22nd of September in Helsinki, Finland. For more information, go to okfestival.org. You can also view festival planning photos in action at the OKFestival Organisers’ Flickr Album.


OKFestival Call for Proposals Released With a Twist

Kat Braybrooke - March 28, 2012 in Events, Featured, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups

OGDcamp participants; Photo thanks to  HermannPachulke on Flickr

For those looking for a reason to come to Helsinki with us this fall, the OKFestival Call for Proposals is released today – and it has an experimental, innovative focus.

The spin? For this year’s OKFestival (the first event of its kind, organised almost entirely through virtual conference calls, IRC chats and co-written documents by an international group of organisers), we’ve set a specific concentration on daring new methods – from collaborations to festival programming to open data categories to session formats. Given this mandate, the 2012 OKFestival theme is “Open Knowledge in Action”. We’re interested in finding out what value can be generated by opening up knowledge and working with open data, the ecosystems of organisations that benefit from and participate in such sharing, and the impact it can have in our societies. What kinds of new professions, ideas and community initiatives can emerge within our governments, markets, networks and neighbourhoods as a result of these engagements?

The exploration of this theme will be visible not only in the festival’s content, but also in its implementation as the first global event of its kind. As organisers, we’re all inspired by untraditional barcamps, unconferences and coding jams – and we want to provide you with the space to experiment with new types of workshops and interactive participation formats (I’m hoping someone proposes a ‘fishbowl‘ style dialogue, for example!).

We’re also opening up more than 2/3 of the programme to you as Guest Organisers. This move is based on our belief that when an event is crowdsourced through a co-operative combination of civil society representatives, programmers, data wranglers, students and members of government, the most interesting results (and relationships!) are facilitated. In the Call for Proposals you’ll have the option to submit either a group-run Topic Stream or an individual Presentation/Event – and we have several interesting spaces throughout the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture waiting to be filled.

The enthusiasm for OKFestival’s focus has already been very inspiring. On the public organisers’ discussion list, there have been months of lively discussion and planning conversations amongst 90+ participants located around the world. Between interviews on BBC Radio in the UK and open knowledge strategy sprints in Finland, it’s been an exciting ride for all of us on the Core Organising Team – and we look forward to many of you joining the Programme Planning Committee with us this Spring.

If you’re in Estonia next month, we are presenting OKFestival at the Free City festival in Tallinn – and in the meantime, we’ll see you online. The official Call for Proposals (submission deadlines on April 20th and June 1st) can be found here, and and more information about the details of OKFestival’s organisation, venue and presentation formats are on the Festival FAQ here.

OGDCamp + OKCon = Open Knowledge Festival 2012 in Helsinki, Finland!

Kat Braybrooke - February 7, 2012 in Events, OGDCamp, OKCon, OKF Finland, OKFest

The following post is by Kat Braybrooke, London-based Community Coordinator of the Open Knowledge Foundation (Regional Chapters and Groups) and a core organiser of OKFest.

OGDcamp 2011

On September 17-22 this year, global communities will be descending on the shores of Helsinki for a week-long celebration called the Open Knowledge Festival – and you’re the first to be invited!

For this festival – the first of its kind in the world – we are bringing Open Government Data Camp (OGDCamp) and Open Knowledge Conference (OKCon) to the same place to provide new opportunities for collaboration. We’ll start the week by supporting practitioners working in the fields of open government and municipal data, and end it by exploring the diversity of open knowledge initiatives from a global perspective. The organising team, a talented gathering of Finns and leaders from around the world, are already hard at work planning a busy week of seminars, workshops, lectures, hackathons, keynotes, coding jams and interactive media sessions that will bring together participants from a wide variety of backgrounds in new ways.

Another important element of OKFest is its Nordic location. The host city of Helsinki is in the midst of an urban Finnish renaissance built on inclusive communities. It is home to one of our first incubating Local Chapters, and as the next World Design Capital for 2012, the city will also be hosting an inspiring cohort of open data practitioners who combine design, art, academia and technology to support innovation in new and interesting ways. Helsinki locals organised the city’s first Open Knowledge Meetup this October and have just opened the first FABlab in Finland at the Aalto University Media Factory. We look forward to highlighting even more Finnish projects in the field of open knowledge, and hope to see the participation of many representatives of Nordic nations.

Most importantly of all, we want your ideas to be highlighted at OKFest. We are currently looking for proposals regarding sessions, satellite events, research streams, hackathons, lecture topics and other forms of collaboration. Have a great project or idea that you want to share with the global community? This is the place to do it. Join our public discussion list and say hello here and start finding collaborators on Twitter using the hashtag #okfest.

We hope to see you in Helsinki, Finland this September for a week of new friends, open knowledge and global inspiration with a Nordic twist!

Photo from OGDCamp 2011 thanks to Volker Agüeras Gäng on Flickr.

Open Data: Wishlist for the Next Year

Rufus Pollock - October 23, 2011 in OGDCamp

In our closing session at Open Government Data Camp, we asked keynoters to reflect on what developments they would most like to see in the next year in relation to open government data and open data more generally. Here’s the resulting list:

  • Open Government Data as a Right
  • More Schemas (Knowledge APIs) – keep it focused, let’s not try to boil the ocean
  • Open Data as a Platform, Not a Commodity
  • Massive Interconnection Between Open Data Sites
  • Open Corporate Data (for and by Corporates)
  • Standards (e.g. for catalog metadata) for Data Portals and Data Hubs
  • Open Data for Growth – making clear the the connection
  • Strong international norms for data inventories
  • Organizational identifiers – Dunn & Bradstreet should be replaced with open data
  • MiData – getting personal data out of corporates and government back into the hands of the people whose data it is

Transparency Board urges widest possible response to UK data consultations

Andrew Stott - October 21, 2011 in OGDCamp, Open Data, Open Government Data

The following guest post is from Andrew Stott, who sits on the UK Government’s Public Sector Transparency Board. In his former role as Director of Digital Engagement at the Cabinet Office, Andrew helped to set up the UK’s open data initiative.

Speaking to the OKFN Open Government Data Camp in Warsaw this morning, Professor Nigel Shadbolt said on behalf of the members of the UK Transparency Board:-

There’s now just a week left to respond to the UK’s two consultations on Public Data:

  • Making Open Data Real” – about how the UK Government should build on its good progress so far and embed transparency and open data as business as usual through the public sector
  • Public Data Corporation” – about the future of the UK Government’s information trading funds which, historically, have charged for their data.

It’s important that as many of the open data community as possible respond to each of these consultations so that their voice is heard by the Ministers and officials concerned, and so that there is a wide set of proposals to feed into the final decision taking.  Conventionally government consultations pose specific questions for comment, but we are sure that the Government is open to any constructive views on the broader issues; and the more evidence the better.

It’s especially important for the Open Data community to make its voice heard on the proposed Public Data Corporation because of the range of other, different, interests affected.

As members of the UK Government’s Transparency Board our passion for open data is well known.  The value of data is not in its sale but its widespread use.  So, whether or not the UK Government decide to proceed with the formation of an overarching Public Data Corporation, it is essential that the information Trading Funds have:

  1. a clear, unambiguous primary mission to maximise the overall contribution of data and services to economic growth, innovation, public service improvement and efficiency (this is as opposed to a primary mission, implicit or explicit, to generate revenues)
  2. a clear commitment to release more and more of their data as Open Data over time, and a credible road map for doing so.
  3. a governance structure which clearly gives primacy to the long term public interest
  4. business models which ensures the production of data of appropriate quality to meet user needs, which allow the for evolution of data products to suit changing needs over time, while maintaining the solvency of the trading funds.
  5. a structure which protects the vital national interest in the data especially core reference sets, but which creates real downward pressure on costs.

We also consider that as tangible evidence of the Government’s commitment to Open Data and to encourage early innovation there should be a substantial additional release of useful data on an open basis; and if there is an efficiency and synergy case for the Public Data Corporation we would expect those benefits to be ploughed back into further opening up of data.  We would welcome suggestions as what the priorities for this should be.

Whether or not you share our views we urge you to respond to the consultation.  It’s important for your voice to be heard.

 

 

#ogdcamp opening talk from Neelie Kroes

Jonathan Gray - October 20, 2011 in Events, OGDCamp, Open Government Data, Open/Closed, Policy, WG EU Open Data, WG Open Government Data, Working Groups

The following post is from Jonathan Gray, Community Coordinator at the Open Knowledge Foundation.

Here is the video and full text for Neelie Kroes’s address at Open Government Data Camp 2011.

> Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

> Opening up public data will foster the participation of citizens in political and social life, increase the transparency of public administration, and improve public decision making.

> Public data is also an essential raw material of the Digital Single Market, a treasure trove for creating new products and services. These will help us address the challenges we face in areas such as transport, energy and health. They will make our lives easier. And they represent important new opportunities for innovative businesses. The overall economic gain could amount to tens of billions of euros, every year.
> Therefore my goal is to promote creative and innovative re-use of public data. By making public data as widely available as possible, to citizens and businesses alike.
> I want to see Europe at the forefront of this development. To this end I am preparing an Open Data Strategy for November which will comprise a number of elements.
> * First, on the legislative side, I will propose changes to the PSI Directive, which has governed the re-use of public sector information since 2003, to make it more effective.
> * Second, I will explain why opening up this public resource is a good investment. Let me focus on just one aspect today: How large is this investment, really, in the long run? Not very large if we make everything accessible by default, by building this into our public administrations’ systems and processes. And even smaller if we also get rid of case-specific licences and controls and make everything re-usable by default. Restrictions should have to be justified, not disclosure.
> * Third, we in the Commission need to practice what we preach: Therefore,
o we will update the rules for the disclosure and re-use of the data we collect; and by next spring, we will launch a portal to make our data accessible and re-usable. I hope that this can expand to cover other EU institutions and agencies soon.
> * And fourth, we plan to launch a pan-European Open Data portal in 2013. It will federate existing portals, gradually expanding to cover datasets produced by public administrations at all levels: from local to European.
Open data for Europe can only work in a bottom-up, federated fashion. It requires knowledge and dedication at all levels, in the public sector and among data re-users. This is a collective effort to make our society a better place.
> There is no doubt in my mind that events such as the Open Government Data Camp, held in Warsaw this week, contribute a lot to this. I wish you very fruitful discussions!

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