Introducing Socrata’s Open Data Magazine: Open Innovation


“Socrata is dedicated to telling the story of open data as it evolves, which is why we have launched a quarterly magazine, “Open Innovation.”
As innovators push the open data movement forward, they are transforming government and public engagement at every level. With thousands of innovators all over the world – each with their own successes, advice, and ideas – there is a tremendous amount of story for us to tell.
The new magazine features articles, advice, infographics, and more dedicated exclusively to the open data movement. The first issue, Fall 2013, will cover topics such as:

  • What is a Chief Data Officer?
  • Who should be on your open data team?
  • How do you publish your first open data set?

It will also include four Socrata case studies and opinion pieces from some of the industry’s leading innovators…
The magazine is currently free to download or read online through the Socrata website. It is optimized for viewing on tablets and smart phones, with plans in the works to make the magazine available through the Kindle Fire and iTunes magazine stores.
Check out the first issue of Open Innovation at www.socrata.com/magazine.”

Data is Inert — It’s What You Do With It That Counts


Kevin Merritt, CEO and Founder, Socrata, in NextGov: “In its infancy, the open data movement was mostly about offering catalogs of government data online that concerned citizens and civic activists could download. But now, a wide variety of external stakeholders are using open data to deliver new applications and services. At the same time, governments themselves are harnessing open data to drive better decision-making.
In a relatively short period of time, open data has evolved from serving as fodder for data publishing to fuel for open innovation.
One of the keys to making this transformation truly work, however, is our ability to re-instrument or re-tool underlying business systems and processes so managers can receive open data in consumable forms on a regular, continuous basis in real-time….”

A Videogame That Recruits Players to Map the Brain


Wired: “I’m no neuroscientist, and yet, here I am at my computer attempting to reconstruct a neural circuit of a mouse’s retina. It’s not quite as difficult and definitely not as boring as it sounds. In fact, it’s actually pretty fun, which is a good thing considering I’m playing a videogame.
Called EyeWire, the browser-based game asks players to map the connections between retinal neurons by coloring in 3-D slices of the brain. Much like any other game out there, being good at EyeWire earns you points, but the difference is that the data you produce during gameplay doesn’t just get you on a leader board—it’s actually used by scientists to build a better picture of the human brain.
Created by neuroscientist Sebastian Seung’s lab at MIT, EyeWire basically gamifies the professional research Seung and his collaborators do on a daily basis. Seung is studying the connectome, the hyper-complex tangle of connections among neurons in the brain.”

The Power of Hackathons


Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: “The Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program is proud to announce the release of The Power of Hackathons: A Roadmap for Sustainable Open Innovation. Hackathons are collaborative events that have long been part of programmer culture, where people gather in person, online or both to work together on a problem. This could involve creating an application, improving an existing one or testing a platform.
In recent years, government agencies at multiple levels have started holding hackathon events of their own. For this brief, author Zachary Bastian interviewed agency staff, hackathon planners and hackathon participants to better understand how these events can be structured. The fundamental lesson was that a hackathon is not a panacea, but instead should be part of a broader open data and innovation centric strategy.
The full brief can be found here”

Open Data Is Re-Defining Government in the 21st Century


Kevin Merritt, the founder and CEO of Socrata, in Next Gov: ….a new movement, spurred by digital and social activism, is taking root to renovate and redefine the public sector.
This movement is based on democratizing the vast treasure trove of data that governments have accumulated over the years, transparently releasing it so citizens and companies can drive meaningful change and solve problems that government, on its own, cannot solve…. This emerging digital collaboration between the public sector and scores of entrepreneurs across the nation has the potential to profoundly transform the role of government….
As a software entrepreneur, I see open data as the transformation of governments from monolithic service providers to open innovation platforms, fueled by data. This shift may hold the answers to some age-old problems in government, like chronic inefficiency and a citizen experience that’s out of step with the modern consumer era.
“This is the right way to frame the question of Government 2.0,” explains O’Reilly, a leading open data advocate. “How does government become an open platform that allows people inside and outside government to innovate? How do you design a system in which all of the outcomes aren’t specified beforehand, but, instead, evolve through interactions between government and its citizens, as a service provider enabling its user community?”
The answers to these questions are still taking shape; but one thing we do know is that the strategic use of data is clearly re-defining government’s role in the 21st century.

Better Cities Competition


oi-logoAnnouncement: Do you want to make our cities of the future better? Want to help improve quality of life in your home, your work and your public life? Have an idea how? Capture it in a short video and be in with a chance to win one of our amazing prizes!
As a part of Open Innovation 2.0: Sustainable Economy & Society collaboration  Intel Labs Europe, Dublin City Council, Trinity College Dublin and European Commission Open Innovation and Strategy Policy Group are delighted to announce that the 2013 Better Cities competition is now open.
The theme of the competition is how to make our cities more socially and economically sustainable, through use of open data and information technology.  Particular focus should be given to how citizens can engage and contribute to the innovation process.