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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Open Data and Canada's Partly-Closing Window

These kinds of things, by the way, is aggregate, process and monetize our data.  This isn't a bad thing, because what they are making money doing is making it easier for us to schedule doctor's appointments, navigate transit and connect with potential business opportunities ourselves.

Open Data is revolutionizing our world and smart players are making a ton of money by essentially enhancing (or adding value) to the basic functions that government is best suited and designed to provide.

How many Canadian companies are making money in the Open Data market?  Not many.  Not nearly as many as could be doing so.  Despite the easy ways to turn the public against foreign data firms (do you really want Huawei consolidating and analyzing our data?) and positioning themselves as a solution, our business community isn't much doing that.


You gotta commit a bit of sociology to find the answer, but it does exist.  It boils down to tradition - Canada has traditionally been a resource-based economy, with some traditional manufacturing thrown in.  Even as we struggle to retain auto companies on our soil, we still have the extraction business, right?  

The federal government is encouraging Canadians looking for work to move to Alberta, where there's a thriving oil industry.  There's need there already, people - why on earth try to create something new?

Yet even Middle Eastern oil-rich countries are looking to diversify their economies.  We are becoming laggards and it doesn't suit our long-term interests.

There are people pushing this field - open data, open opportunity, a culture of collaboration that allows for data to flow - but they aren't who you'd think they are.  A lot of the time, they are bureaucrats, social entrepreneurs, activists and hacktivists.  You know, the kinds of people who are supposed to be bad for business-as-usual.

But the business-as-usual of yore isn't the reality any more.  The usual suspects of solution providers don't have the answers to our changing world - not in GR, not in PR and certainly not in CSR.  

The solutions we need exist right now and are slowly coming together, all on their own, even as government creates solutions for problems we don't have.

There's a big shift coming and it's going to be interesting to be part of.  But as they say, it's that which adapts, not that which is tough, that survives.

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