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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.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

What OpenGov and Steve Roger's Notebook Have in Common

Captain America: Winter Soldier is a film that speaks to our times. 

The security apparatus meant to keep seas of troubles from lapping at our shores is impeding internal flow as well; the State cure doesn't always seem better than the national threat disease.  Lies are told to justify incursions, or to countenance support for bad people, etc.  The State creeps in to the data back end of the people as its own doors get firewalled shut. 
Which is why there was something so appealing about a man out of time, a soldier with an unwavering code of personal ethics and a focus on empowering and trusting people, not controlling them.  The idea that this figure would be vulnerable, open to ideas on what he needed to know to get up to speed with the times was a brilliant stroke by the directors/writers.
Best part about crowd-sourcing Steve Rogers' list of things to catch up on - they took one basic theme and empowered people from around the world to crowd-source and vote on their top localized items.
It was a bit of engagement, a bit of sharing and a whole lot of community, all catalyzed by this idea of an historical (or comic-book historical) figure coming back to help society renew its sense of societal ownership and community engagement.  Everyone added their unique voice to a whole and the people's choice ended up reflected right there on the screen.
Which is kind how Open Gov and Open Data are supposed to work. 
The big trouble Open Gov folk have is knowing where to start - they have a lot of data, and need to know which sets to work on first.  Getting people to understand the power of Open Data and request sets that matter to them is a big, unresolved challenge - so far.
So here's a question.  The idea of crowd-sourcing the kinds of data people want open first is tricky, because the concept is so unusual to them.  But if people were to make recommendations on what someone else might want access to - someone who's back in our world after time away, perhaps - the recommendation levels might come up.  You're helping that person who's out of time, literally.
There are plenty of firms that could do something like this out there, domestically and internationally - gamify open data direction consultations.
The questions is, who would be our Captain America?

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