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Happy Spring Cleaning, Community Style

Heather Leson - April 1, 2014 in Community Stories, Events, Featured, Network, OKF Projects, OKFestival, Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Local Groups, Our Work, Working Groups

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Crazy about happy? Call it spring fever, but I am slightly addicted to the beautiful creativity of people around the world and their Happy videos (map). We are just one small corner of the Internet and want to connect you to Open Knowledge. To do this, we, your community managers, need to bring in the Happy. How can we connect you, meet your feedback, continue the spirit of global Open Data Day, and celebrate our upcoming 10 year anniversary as Open Knowledge? Tall order, but consider this.

Open Knowledge is a thriving network. We exist because of all of you and the incremental efforts each of you make on a wide-range of issues around the world. The way forward is to flip the community around. We will focus on connecting you to each other. Call it inspired by Happy or the Zooinverse mission, but we heard your input into the community survey and want to meet it.

Coffee smiley by spaceageboy

So, here are 4 key ways we aim to connect you:

1. Community Tumblr

Greece, MENA, and Tanzania – these are just some of the locations of Open Knowledge Stories on the Community Tumblr. We know that many of you have stories to tell. Have something to say or share? Submit a story. Just one look at the recent WordPress about 10 moments around the world gives me inspiration that the stories and impact exist, we just need to share more.

The Open Knowledge Community Tumblr

2. Wiki Reboot

As with every spring cleaning, you start by dusting a corner and end up at the store buying bookshelves and buckets of paint. The Open Knowledge wiki has long been ridden with spam and dust bunnies. We’ve given it a firm content kick to make it your space. We are inspired by the OpenStreetMap community wiki.

What next? Hop on over and create your Wiki User account – Tell us about yourself, See ways to Get Involved and Start Editing. We think that the wiki is the best way to get a global view of all things Open Knowledge and meet each other. Let’s make this our community hub.

3. Community Sessions

We have a core goal to connect you to each other. This April we are hosting a number of online community events to bring you together. Previously, we had great success with a number of online sessions around Open Data Day and OKFestival.

The Community Sessions can be in a number of forms: a scheduled IRC chat, a community Google hangout, a technical sprint or hackpad editathon. We are using the wiki to plan. All events will be announced on the blog and be listed in the main Open Knowledge events calendar.

Wiki planning for the Community Sessions:

The first session is Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 14:30 UTC/10:30 ET. We will host an IRC chat all about the wiki. To join, hop onto irc.freenode.net #okfn. IRC is a free text-based chat service.

4. OkFestival

OKFestival is coming soon. You told us that events is one of the biggest ways that you feel connected to Open Knowledge. As you many know, there are regular online meetups for School of Data, CKAN and OpenSpending Communities. Events connect and converge all of us with location and ideas.

Are you planning your own events where you live or on a particular open topic? We can help in a few ways:

  • Let us know about the events you’re running! Let’s discover together how many people are joining Open knowledge events all around the world!
  • Never organized an event before or curious to try a new type of gathering? Check out our Events Handbook for tips and tricks and contact our Events Team if you have questions or feedback about it
  • Want to connect with other community members to talk about your events, share skills, create international series of events together? Ping our global mailing list!

Have some ideas on how we can bring on the happy more? Drop us a line on the okfn-discuss mailing list or reach out directly – heather DOT leson AT okfn DOT org.

(Photo by SpaceAgeBoy)

How many people are rocking Open Knowledge events around the world? Let us know!

Beatrice Martini - April 1, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

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We’re getting to know each other more every day on mailing lists and through surveys, we know that plenty of you populate and build groundbreaking projects and communities through our network of 42 local groups, 20 working groups, infinite number of projects and beyond. Now, we’d like to know more about your Open Knowledge events (what can be called such a thing? Have look here) and in particular how many people join them! We want our gathering community to grow and want to know and understand how it grows so how we can best support its sustainable development.

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Call for action: let’s discover how many people love Open Knowledge events!

Step 1

When you run an Open Knowledge event, submit an article about it to the Open Knowledge Community Stories Tumblr. Your article can be short and sweet but should at least tell about:

  • what / where / how (topic, offline or online location, format, goals)
  • how many people attended – lets see how Open Kowledge is growing all around the world!
  • outcomes and / or upcoming plans for the future

In addition to that, anything you’d like to add – pictures, quotes and links to post-event reports by attendees of the event, graphs – is very welcome and much appreciated!

Step 2

At the end of each month we’ll write a crowded wrap-up blogpost about all the Open Knowledge events which took place in the previous weeks, to be published on the main Open Knowledge blog, and we’ll know how many people around the world are taking action gathering together to build the future of Open Knowledge.

Do you have an event in the pipeline in April? Run it, have fun!, and report it on the Tumblr by the end of April – it’ll be featured on our first wrap-up post to be published in early May!

OKFestival Call for Proposals ending soon! Submit your proposal now!

Beatrice Martini - March 26, 2014 in Events, Join us, OKFest, OKFestival, Sprint / Hackday, Workshop

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We extended the deadline to give you an extra 2 weeks to come up with unusually brilliant, inventive, participatory session proposals for OKFestival 2014, but we’re getting very close to crunch-time now! This Sunday, March 30th, is the final deadline to submit the session you want to run at the festival. Then it’s over to our expert Programme Team to start selecting the proposals that will shake things up, get things done and all round inspire people at this year’s event.

Don’t miss your chance to submit an amazing idea! We’d love to see you to run an immersive, exploratory, ground-breaking session that challenges the boundaries of the Open Movement and gets things moving forward! So submit your proposal now, and hopefully we’ll be seeing you in Berlin in July.

If you want to collaborate with others, use our OKFestival Mailing List to find yourself the perfect partner, or shout out on Twitter using #OKFest14. Either way, get planning and make sure your submission is with us by Sunday 30th March.

Is this microphone on? Sharing Open Knowledge Feedback (Part 2)

Heather Leson - March 19, 2014 in Open Knowledge Foundation

Feedback and impact are buzzword bingo words lately. There are few articles or grant applications that miss mentioning them. Rightly so. Feedback is core to change and true engagement in any organization or community. This part of the much needed global pulse check as we move towards a more interactive and collaborative world. Your responses to the community survey informed some of our January team meeting sessions and have infused our plans for the year. (Thank you.) Last month we wrote about who the Open Knowledge community was based on your community survey results. Digging into your feedback has truly provided us perspective. We’ve been quietly planning and rethinking.

Data is only bits until you analyze, make some observations and action it. I focused on reviewing your responses to to key questions: what do you think is critical for Open Knowledge and what needs improvement? From that review, I made a top 10 priority list of things that the we could do to better support your Open Knowledge experience:

The Open Knowledge Community Top 10:

  1. You attend events and want more.
  2. We need to make it easier to Get involved in the Open Knowledge community and any associated projects. You want Open Knowledge to be diverse and inclusive.
  3. Open Knowledge should provide more community resources.
  4. We connect you to each other in the global open knowledge space. You want us to make this easier for you.
  5. Open Knowledge is a community of data makers and folks who want us to provide ways for you to gain more technical skills or do skillshares.
  6. You want want us to keep the momentum on lobbying for policy and advocacy.
  7. You want us to be more transparent about our work. And, you want to us to transparently share stories about open data – both the good things and the barriers/things that don’t work.
  8. You want to join us on the important journey to support and teach governments, businesses and civil society to open data.
  9. Your Open Knowledge needs more translation. (Quick plug of thanks for all the folks who offered to help on this!)
  10. You want us to build spaces for more open collaboration and involve you.

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In your own words

We want to give you voice. Here are some community quotes about what you think is critical and what’s need improving at Open Knowledge:

Connecting the movement worldwide for international projects. – Nuno Moniz

The connections between OKF activists in different countries are not very strong in my experience. I think it would be good to find ways to link people working on similar issues in different countries. Not sure what are the most effective ways to do that, though. Joonas Pekkanen

Solutions for global challenges like justice,climate changes,cultural matters. Judith Mutange

Fighting lobbies and, at a technological level, interoperability and trust. Ana Alice Baptista

It’s difficult to join projects which are already running at full speed (not just OKF ones), but your more developed ones already do a good job of marking tasks as “easy for new contributors” so my only suggestion would be to encourage projects to do this (more), it’s really helpful. (Anonymous)

Building ICT skills so more people can participate outside of privileged cities.(Anonymous)

Making communities aware, making everyday Joe aware that he can hold the government accountable, that he can read the latest research and that these are basic rights he should be fighting for. Nevelina Aleksandrova

More local makers meet-ups, help improves data-literacy as part of the commons of web-literacy. Yann “shalf” Heurtaux

One point that I see clearly is that OKFN used to be focused more on technology, while now it’s much more about advocacy, which isn’t my core interest, so I ceased to be as involved in OKFN’s activities as I was before. This is illustrated well by the changes in line-up of OKCons. (Anonymous)

Constructing a clear narrative that goes beyond open data, and articulates a clear critique of the alternative ways intellectual property and knowledge sharing is, and might, develop. (Anonymous)

I don’t contribute enough. I think it would perhaps be useful to have a little more on terms of ref, how to engage and why etc if this was clearer up front you would know your obligation and perhaps be able to execute it better. (Anonymous)

The open knowledge foundation likes stories of success – that’s good so.But open knowledge foundation does not like stories of obstacles, barriers, difficulties. that’s not so good. (Anonymous)

Bringing in a wider group of people – diversity not just in gender, geography, language and race but also in terms of occupations, interests, backgrounds. OKFN is doing great work but the open knowledge concept is still much more widely applicable than the areas we have been focusing on so far!. (Anonymous)


Some communities use Stackoverflow, Ideascale or Ideavibes to keep feedback loops open. As your community leaders, we need to find better ways to know the pulse and give you more opportunities to shape Open Knowledge. We’ll keep looking into how we can better provide these avenues. If you have ideas on this please share on the OKFN-Discuss list, add a note to this post or contact us.

Next week: I’ll share some details about how we will incorporate your feedback with clear, shareable actions. You’ve given us a clear mandate. We aim to co-build with you.

(photo credit: Heather Leson (October 2013) The Crystal Sustainable Cities Initiative: Safe and Sound Exhibition)

Deadline to submit your OKFestival 2014 session proposals extended to March 30!

Beatrice Martini - March 14, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, News, OKFest, OKFestival

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  • Event: OKFestival – July 15-17, 2014. Berlin, Germany.
  • Call for Proposals: Find the call, FAQs and the submission form here
  • Deadline: Deadline extended! New deadline to submit your proposals is March 30, 2014.
  • Tickets: Early Bird tickets are now on sale!

This year’s OKFestival Call for Proposals was due to end on Sunday and our spreadsheets were filling up with dozens of amazing session amazing sessions ideas over the last few weeks. We’ve had lots of questions from you about your proposals, answered heaps of Twitter messages asking for hints about the best way to design a workshop, and hosted live helpouts to talk about how you can collaborate with each other.

So, excited by your enthusiasm and fuelled by your contagious energy, we have decided to extend the deadline for this year’s proposals.

You now have two full extra weeks!New deadline: March 30. And this time we’re serious!

Keep sending your brilliant, groundbreaking, collaborative proposals. We’re looking forward to reviewing them all!

Tips & Tricks – A Hangout for OKFestival Session Planners

Beatrice Martini - March 5, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, News, OKFest, OKFestival

The Open Knowledge Festival call for session proposals is now open!

The better the proposals, the better the festival, so we’re inviting you to put on your thinking caps and come up with revolutionarily brilliant ideas for sessions at OKFestival 2014.

We know you can do it, and we know you’ll make this festival a huge success by bringing your input to it. To help you fine-tune your ideas –  and ask any burning questions  that you may have – the Festival Programme Team are going to be on hand via online hangouts over the next week to give you some pointers.

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In fact, we’re happy to announce three new tools to help make the magic happen:

  • we’ve created a public mailing list which you can use to connect and team up with other session planners, to share ideas, plans and tips for OKFestival sessions

  • we’ve created a brand-new webpage on our festival site with tips to help you build and facilitate the best sessions possible for/at OKFestival

  • we’re hosting two live hangouts (links below) where you can ask for advice or input on your ideas from us, and exchange tips with each other to help make your proposal shine

Hangouts will be held on Friday, March 7 at 21:00 GMT (22:00 CET/ 13:00 PST/ 16:00 EST) and on Monday, March 10, at 10:00 GMT (11:00 CET/ 13:00 EAT/ 18:00 HKT). We’ll be interacting with you live via etherpad and Twitter – #okfestsessions – as well as via the Google+ Hangouts Q&A App where you can post your questions on the day. The hangouts will be streamed direct to our YouTube channel and G+ page.

If you can’t join us for whatever reason, don’t worry - the resultant YouTube videos will be archived so you can watch them later and you can also continue to read and contribute to the etherpad after the hangouts.

We’re looking forward to building this year’s programme with you!

The Open Knowledge Festival 2014 website is now live!

Beatrice Martini - February 19, 2014 in Events, Featured, Join us, News, OKFest, OKFestival

We know you’re as excited as we are about this year’s Open Knowledge Festival, which will be taking place in Berlin from 15th – 17th July. Today, we’re pleased to unveil the new website for the event which includes the festival ticket shop, details of how to contribute to the programme and other key information about the event.

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OKFestival 2014 builds on many years of successful international open knowledge events hosted by the Open Knowledge Foundation – including OKFestival 2012 and OKCon 2013 – to create a meeting that’s focused on turning knowledge into positive action. We hope to see you in Berlin this summer!

Tickets now on sale!

You can now buy earlybird tickets for OKFestival for 120€ per person. This includes the evening event on the 15th and both full days of the festival on the 16th and 17th. There are only a limited number of these tickets, so make sure you don’t miss out!

Once the earlybird tickets have gone, regular tickets will be released at 150€ per person. If you’re a student, we’re also offering tickets at a discounted rate of 100€ – you’ll need to show a valid student ID when you collect your name badge at the festival.

If you’re attending on behalf of an organisation, then the 350€ business ticket is the right one for you. As well as giving you food and drink vouchers, and a Berlin tour, the ticket is also transferable, meaning that you can let us know if you’re attending on one day of the festival and a colleague will be using the ticket on another day.

If you’ve got any questions about buying tickets, take a look at our ticket FAQs. If you’ve still got queries, you can get in touch with us directly: tickets@okfestival.org.

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Contribute to the festival programme

We’ll be sharing more information about the different topic streams that will form the structure of the OKFestival programme soon. We’ll then be asking for session proposals for each of the streams. So if you’ve got ideas about a discussion that you’d like to lead, a hack that you’d like to wrangle, or a group of people that you’d love to bring together to swop knowledge, please start shaping your ideas ready to let us know about them.

We’re also keen to see fringe events hosted in Berlin on the days around the Festival. These might be longer hacks, workshops or social events. While we won’t be able to provide a venue for these events, we’d love to hear from you if you’re thinking of putting one together.

Financial aid programme

OKFestival is a great opportunity to bring together an international crowd of open knowledge enthusiasts. To make the event as accessible as possible to all who would like to join us in Berlin, we’re offering financial aid packages to cover admission, travel and accommodation costs for a limited number of attendees. For more information on how to apply, keep an eye out for an announcement about the programme soon.

Sponsorship

OKFestival is made financially possible thanks to the generous support of sponsors. If you’d like to find out more about the opportunities to contribute to the event, please get in touch with us at sponsorship@okfestival.org.

Who are you? Community Survey Results (Part 1)

Heather Leson - February 12, 2014 in Open Knowledge Foundation, Our Work, Transparency

You are incredibility diverse and passionate. Last fall over 320 of you participated in our first OKF community-wide survey. You gave us an incredible view into you, your needs and how we at OKF can better support you. This is the first of three posts to show you: who you are, some analysis on your responses and, most importantly, how we are working to meet your feedback. Responses came from around the globe: Argentina to Indonesia to Norway to South Africa to the USA.

Today’s post is a few shiny examples to show you more about you. Without the community, OKF is just a green logo. We hope that you will enjoy this window into your OKF:

How would you describe your role in the open knowledge / open data world? OKF Community Snapshot

Why are you involved with or interested in the Open Knowledge Foundation? Do you work for, or closely with, any other organisation in the open data / open knowledge space? Type of organization

How you define Open Knowledge:

Antti Poikola (Finland) defines Open Knowledge as: open data + open content + open collaborative ways to work/act share and develop shared knowledge

how you define open knowledge

Why are you involved with or interested in the Open Knowledge Foundation? how are you involved at okf

Tune in for the next post all about your feedback and what you think is critical or needs improvement.

Thanks again to everyone who responded. And, for all you who continue to make a difference in the open world.

Planning Your Open Data Day 2014

Beatrice Martini - December 12, 2013 in Events, Featured, Join us, Meetups, News, Sprint / Hackday, Talks, Training, Workshop

Open Data Day is coming! On February 22, 2014 in a timezone near you!

What is it?

Open Data Day is a global community initiative to make and spread open data. People from all around the world gather together online or in person to make things with and around open data. Anyone is invited to get involved – from curious citizens to journalists, coders to scientists, designers to data wranglers.

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How does it work?

The Open Data Day events can have any kind of format / length and theme, but should all be connected by a couple of basic principles.

  • The events should happen on the same day – the next one, on February 22, 2014

  • The events should be inclusive and welcome diversity (epistemic, geographic, socio-demographic, of language and gender) – our movement is stronger when it is broader

  • Anyone can organise an event – add your name and online/ in person event to the wiki. For in person meetups: let’s try to keep it to one event per city, to maximize the local community’s strength. (Find tips on types of events in the Open Knowledge Foundation Event Handbook and in this post by our friend Michelle Thorne of Mozilla.)

  • Hacks and meetups should all involve open data

  • Show and share – each event should come up with at least one demo, brainstorm, proposal, to share online with the Open Data Day crowd (adding links to post-event materials, including pics and blog posts, to the wiki is warmly recommended). We will investigate more online spaces soon.

  • Virtual party – we aim to connect globally. Are you in a location with no in person event? Join us online via IRC, Hackpads or more (more details and links coming soon)

Some 2014 event examples? Take a look at this event organised in Washington DC at The World Bank. And did you already see the Open Data Day Japan website just launched today?

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Call to action: Help build Open Data Day!

The Open Data Day wiki needs to be prepped and polished to rock the 2014 action plan. We’re looking for stellar volunteers to help us with this. Skills required:

  • knowledge of Wiki management
  • ability to work with WordPress
  • design skills
  • mapping skills

Willing to help the wiki sprint? Get in touch with our very own Heather Leson. We’ll get this ready as soon as possible for everyone to add their Open Data Day events!

If you need some help planning your event, please do connect on the OKFN – Discuss mailing list or Open Data Day mailing list. Next week we will share some resources and planning help for local organizers.

Ready to open up data? Join the party!

Open Data Empowers Us to Answer Questions that Matter

Rufus Pollock - December 9, 2013 in Access to Information, Featured, Open Data, Open Knowledge Foundation

This article by Rufus Pollock, Founder and Director of the Open Knowledge Foundation, is cross-posted from “Telefonica Digital Hub” released on 5 December 2013.

Every day we face challenges – from the personal such as the quickest way to get to the work or what we should eat to global ones like climate change and how to sustainably feed and educate seven billion people. Here at the Open Knowledge Foundation we believe that opening up data – and turning that data into insight – can be crucial to addressing these challenges, and building a society in which is everyone – not just the few – are empowered with the knowledge they need to understand and effect change.

Neon sign Open 2005  Photographer User Justinc cc-by-sa

Open data and open knowledge are fundamentally about empowerment, about giving people – citizens, journalists, NGOs, companies and policy-makers – access to the information they need to understand and shape the world around them.

Through openness, we can ensure that technology and data improve science, governance, and society. Without it, we may see the increasing centralisation of knowledge – and therefore power – in the hands of the few, and a huge loss in our potential, individually and collectively, to innovate, understand, and improve the world around us.

Open Data is data that can be freely accessed, used, built upon and shared by anyone, for any purpose. With digital technology – from mobiles to the internet – increasingly everywhere, we’re seeing a data revolution. It’s a revolution both in the amount of data available and in our ability to use, and share, that data. And it’s changing everything we do – from how we travel home from work to how scientists do research, to how government set policy.

Now much of that data is personal, data about you and what you do – what you buy (your loyalty card, your bank statements), where you go (your mobile location or the apps you’ve installed) or who you interact with online (Facebook, Twitter etc). That data should never be “open”, freely accessible to anyone – its your data, and you should control who has access to it and how it is used.

But there’s a lot of data that isn’t personal. Data like the government’s budget, or road maps, or train times, or what’s in that candy bar, or where those jeans were made, or how much carbon dioxide was produced last year … Data like this could and should be open if the governments and corporations who control it can be persuaded to unlock it.

And that’s what we’ve been doing at the Open Knowledge Foundation for the last decade: working to get governments and corporations to unlock their data and make it open.

We’re doing this because of the power of open data to unleash innovation, creativity and insight. It has potential to empower anyone – whether it is an entrepreneur, an activist or a researcher – to get access to information and use it as they see fit. For example, citizens in Ghana using data on mining to ensure they get their fair share of tax revenues to pay for local schools and hospitals, or a startup like Open Healthcare UK using drug prescription data released by the UK government to identify hundreds of millions of pounds of savings for the health services.

It’s key to remember here that real impact doesn’t come directly from open data itself – no one’s life is immediately improved by a new open data initiative or an additional open dataset. Data has to be turned into knowledge, information into insight – and someone has to act on that knowledge.

To do that takes tools and skills – tools for processing, analysing and presenting data, and skills to do that. This is why this is another key area of the Open Knowledge Foundation’s work. With projects like SchoolofData we’re working to teach data skills to those who need them most, and in Open Knowledge Foundation Labs we’re creating lightweight tools to help people use data more easily and effectively.

Finally, it’s about people, the people who use data, and the people who use the insights from that data to drive change. We need to create a culture of “open data makers“, people able and ready to make apps and insights with open data. We need to connect open data with those who have the best questions and the biggest needs – a healthcare worker in Zambia, the London commuter travelling home – and go beyond the data geeks and the tech savvy.

Image “Neon Sign Open” by Justin Cormack, CC-BY

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