reflections after the datadays (#ddays14)

Earlier this week I attended the http://datadays.eu conference.

It started as an idea to promote the outcomes of the Citadel On The Move project, funded by the EU, where the partners were looking for ways to promote the development of apps that would work in different cities.

In collaboration with the Belgian chapter of the OKFN the conference grew to a three day assembly, renamed ‘open belgium, open europe, open world’.

Here are some reflections/takeaways:

– a lot of new faces! It appears that open data is no longer the playground of the hardcore believers, but more and more people see the added value for themselves.
– of course there was a lot of tech talk about standards and formats, but the scope widened to the whole data value chain, including end use.
– the role of cities: this breakout session (yes, I was involved) explored the specific situation of cities in the open data process. Conclusion: local government has data, but maybe more important, cities can involve and reach the local dev communities, build bridges with end users, trough living labs or hackatons. Also, they are maybe the prime re-users of open data!
– parallel efforts: open data is grassroots, wich means there are a lot of similar endeavours. This does not need to be a bad thing. It is bad if this means that every other initiative ends up with “another standard to rule them all…”
– international. People from Roumania, Singapore, US, Canada, UK, the Netherlands, Belgium (bxl, flanders and wallonia)… all brought their own particular take on the open data progress. Be it transparancy, innovation, or obligations, we see open data no longer being treated as a goal in itself, but as necessary means to different goals.
– entrepreneurs were present as well, so it appears that open data reaches a maturity where business opportunities present themselves. Finally.

All in all, a great event.

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