It’s Time to Ask More of Open Data
On Saturday, March 11th Brett Hurt, CEO and Co-Founder of data.world hosted a panel of government data experts at SXSW Interactive 2017 in a ballroom at the Hilton. Joining him on stage was Beth Beck, Open Innovation Program Manager at NASA; Damon Davis, former Director of Health Data Initiative for HHS; and Jeff Meisel, Chief Marketing Officer for the US Census.
Despite there being over 18 million open data sets in the world, there is still not enough impactful actions being accomplished. Hurt explained how influential the government has been in the world of open data, with projects such as data.gov being mimicked throughout the world. This is why Hurt invited panelists he described as “the best of the best in open data in government” to join him in discussing ways to improve and inspire innovation within open data usage.
Beck, who recently received her Phd., spoke on how going to space has always been a predominantly data driven industry, and explained the challenges of not only obtaining and researching the large amounts of data they receive during missions, but also the frustration that comes when she is being asked to provide metrics on ROI for the data retrieved. The difficulty lies in quantifying how many dollars were generated from the rescue and revalue of this government data, and she went on to challenge developers in the room to create some sort of “data DNA” that could help map usage rates.
Davis led healthdata.org, which was focused on healthcare data, and stated that he was constantly on a mission to try and engaged with the public to create a partnership and trusting atmosphere within the open data community. He believes that by being open with the public about the data available, this will foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship. Davis echoed Beck’s tone regarding government funding, stating that “governments aren’t paying for anything they can’t put actual value on, which is the problem with not being able to quantify nebulous data.”
Metsel is trying similarly trying to foster a culture of open innovation at the US Census Bureau. He emphasized that part of the value equation is co-creating products with the users themselves. He continued that “nothing shows more value than when you have users who put skin in the game to help solve problems.”
Hurt previously founded Bazaarvoice and also Coremetrics metrics (now part of IBM). Hurt says he started this incredibly ambition business in data.world because there is very little non-usage of open data outside of the examples his panelists provided throughout the session. I caught up with Hurt after the panel completed to ask him a little more about data.world and what he hopes to accomplish in the video below:
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