Thank you for joining us at Open Knowledge Festival 2014!

14736852725_699b485519_z

Thank you for joining us in Berlin and helping to shape OKFestival and the future of the open knowledge movement!

We hope that the event provided you with the opportunity to learn, to share and to connect with open knowledge advocates from around the world. While we were excited and inspired by the collaborations and activities we saw springing up over the course of the week, we know that we can always do better and we want to hear from you about what we did well and what you would change. Furthermore, we’d like to encourage all the festival participants to keep sharing – ideas, blogposts, photos, videos, anything which can make the work done last week together resonate with everyone who was there but also everyone who couldn’t join us in person but can still fuel the upcoming projects online!

So, in the spirit of Open Minds to Open Action – let’s call for action!

i) Tell us how it was for you! Firstly, we’d like to ask for your feedback about the event to help us with planning for the future. We’d really appreciate your answers to this survey, which shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete: okfestival.org/feedback

ii) Content from the festival Next, we’d like to remind you of all the great content created at – and around – the Festival, and to encourage you to check it out and contribute to it.

  • Etherpads
    Every session had an etherpad, which is an online tool for note-taking. You can find them listed on the Sched page for the corresponding session or you may want to browse the “pad of pads” where they’re all listed.
  • Photos
    We saw lots of great photos being tweeted from the event and would love to collect as many as possible in the festival Flickr pool so that everyone can find them. So whether you snapped people enjoying ice cream or artists creating graffiti, please do add your images to the group here.
  • Articles & blog posts
    Again, we’ve seen lots of tweets sharing blog posts about the festival – if you’ve written one or seen one you liked, please add it to this document so we can gather them all in one place and put the links up as a record on the festival website.

Finally, if you’d like to relive some of the festival, you might want to check out our short video celebrating the event. Enjoy!


Thanks once again for your energy, contributions and enthusiasm in making Open Knowledge Festival 2014 our best event yet.

With love,
Your OKFestival Team

Open Knowledge Festival – Day 3 Storify

At this year’s festival we were helped by a fantastic team of volunteers, some of whom contributed to sharing updates about the event on social media. As well as tweeting and taking photos and video, each day they compiled a Storify of some of the top tweets. Below is the Storify for Day 3 of the festival which included keynotes from Neelie Kroes and Eric Hysen as well as ice cream, a graffiti wall and the closing party!

Open Knowledge Festival – Day 2 Storify

At this year’s festival we were helped by a fantastic team of volunteers, some of whom contributed to sharing updates about the event on social media. As well as tweeting and taking photos and video, each day they compiled a Storify of some of the top tweets. Below is the Storify for Day 2 of the festival.

OKFestival: Day Two Highlights & Wrap Up

What a Week!

Opening Ceremony OKFestival 14

Between five incredible keynotes, 70+ participatory sessions, an unFestival and countless fringe events, not to mention informal strategizing in the courtyards of the Kulturbrauerei, I am sure that we are all still taking some time to process all the information. Last week, our incredible volunteers put together a Day 1 roundup, highlighting all the exciting conversations that were taking place! Here is just a taste of what happened on Day 2!

We kicked off Day Two with a keynote from Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner responsible for the digital rights agenda, who called on the open movement to put the pressure on national governments to open up data in order to help create jobs and stimulate growth. She highlighted the need to change the mindset of public administrations, to show them that there is a better way, an open way. After a standing ovation from the audience, Eric Hysen had a tough act to follow and was up for the challenge!  He joined us on the OKFestival stage to highlight that open data is not enough and if we truly want to create more innovative societies, we *have* to build the necessary infrastructure. If you missed it, you can read it here.

If you missed the Thursday morning keynotes, you can watch them here:

Following the keynotes, OKFestival participants spread throughout the Kulturbrauerei to share, learn and innovate together in 30 different interactive sessions and at the unFestival. All thirty sessions and the unFestival would be difficult to recap in a single blog post but you can check out the etherpads for all the the sessions here or our Storify of day two!

Here are a few photos of the day:

14723155921_ea50946a7b_z14726027322_f10471ee17_zFlashHacks!14684507681_7cb078526b_z14733484523_bf2e858805_z14677771346_d6b78fe083_z

Finally, because we were, after all, at a Festival, we ended with a live performance from Juliani, Valsero and The Swag. Thank you Artists Without a Cause!

TheSwag

Stay tuned, OKFestival official photos and videos are coming soon! In the mean time, if you want to help us tell the OKFestival story, please add your blogs to our list & your photos to our flickr pool.  Thanks for joining us in Berlin last week, it wouldn’t have been the same without each and everyone of you! 

Image Credit: Arte Pilpilean EgonOpenCorporates GalleryBurt Lum, Open Data Research Network , Mark Braggins

How Does Change Happen?

The following is a guest post by Chris Underwood, and originally appeared on makingallvoicescount.org

“In Dar, the lights went on for me about what this programme was actually all about, and it was really exciting”! 

So said Chantal Matthew of the Centre for Municipal Research & Advice, an experienced local government hand seeking to make change by connecting young citizens with local governments to co-create initiatives to ensure government is genuinely responsive to their views, perceptions and priorities. She was referring to our Learning & Inspiration event in Dar es Salaam in May.

Over a morning coffee in my new home of Johannesburg this week I was privileged enough to get into the detail of how change processes happen here in South Africa, and seek to apply that to how this programme, for whom I work, could or should support it. The recurring themes were the vital roles of: informal networks that connect change makers across the public, private and non-defined spheres; change makers and risk takers within government and the private sector; and individual projects or initiatives that might be funded by programmes like ours that seek to drive change on specific themes.

 
Networks & courageous conversations

“I only heard about your programme by chance” said Pramod Mohanlal, co-founder and MD of Yowzit.com, a firm providing the means by which citizens rate and feedback on government services, before adding that he’d been pointed towards us by a senior government official during a conversation they’d been having about their mutual missions to change how government is done here. Those sorts of informal networks, stemming from past relationships, professional associations, political affiliations and traditional cultures are the real spaces where, another grantee added, “courageous conversations” take place. Thinking the unthinkable outside the confines of bureaucratic or political constraints. Programmes that do not seek to tap into and contribute to those conversations would never, in their view, really achieve more than their constituent and time bound projects. A warning to those of us interested in achieving long term, sustainable impact.

 
Change makers and risk takers
Don’t think business people only care about the bottom line, argued Pramod. They are citizens too, and often collaborating with senior officials within government already, for good or ill. Both public and private sectors experience huge market inefficiencies and pointless transaction costs which in both cases can be alleviated by meaningful interaction with citizens; be they customers or voters. The point being made, here, was that there was a shared agenda for changing governance across public and private spheres: the challenge for Making All Voices Count was how to unlock that untapped potential. Suggestions included private brokering of relationships between social activists, business leaders and senior government officials, while another was the very public enlisting of business leaders as ambassadors for achieving genuine public voice in the futures of their countries.
 
Collective action, individual projects and voice

“When I am meeting a senior decision maker with Government, am I representing my organisation or am I representing Making All Voices Count ? The answer totally changes the conversation” said one of our grantees, in response to a question about the most effective and appropriate contribution this programme could make to the process of political and governance reform. The strong answer coming back was that our role was about funding for sure, but also about convening conversations.

That was the ‘brand value’, they felt, of Making All Voices Count, part of a global movement for change. Under that umbrella, it was said, grantees were able to add up to a coherent whole rather than a collection of disparate, separate and unrelated projects. The point was that this programme could only ever make local sense, and contribute to transformative change, if what it did in-country reflected a coherent and consistent approach to supporting change makers responding to their specific circumstances. It was not for a programme like this to enter into local political debates, but it was helpful for our work to be framed and designed with a clear premium placed on supporting change makers to act in concert, utilising each others skills, experiences, networks and strengths.

 
The A, B & C of governance reform 

So what’s the straightforward and linear approach we take to genuinely responsive governance in each of the countries in which we work? The short answer is that there isn’t one. As Pramod observed: “change is messy”. But what this exchange highlighted for me was the importance of a tailor made approach to local context, and the need to encourage others to have ‘courageous conversations’ that bring all of us out of our comfort zones. What that will also mean is a rigorous discipline to asking ourselves consistently hard questions about how the projects we fund really get to the heart of bringing about transformative change; and where they don’t what can we do to build on the role of networks and our own ‘brand’ to broker, support and incubate ideas with that level of potential. Oh, and to do all of that within the parameters of a locally context-responsive country plan.

But what this conversation really underlined above all, was that looking for ‘experts’ from afar is often the exact opposite to what you should do. They are all around you, you only need to ask.

Some Ideas for the Open Knowledge Festival

The following is a guest post by Panthea Lee, and originally appeared onreboot.org.

How can we ensure open government initiatives live up to their promise?

The movement for more open, accountable governments is gaining momentum the world over. But too often, open government initiatives are deployed without careful designs that enable them to achieve their intended objectives.

Exactly one year ago, I had the privilege to serve as the rapporteur for Aspen Institute’s Forum on Communications and Society and highlight some of the hurdles our community of practitioners must overcome to move toward the next phase of open government. This week, I’m especially excited to take that conversation further at the Open Knowledge Festival (OKFest) in Berlin, where Reboot is leading a session titled “Opening Society in Challenging Contexts”.

In particular, we’re interested in not just highlighting hurdles, but actively discussing solutions.

How to enable participation in open government initiatives from hard-to-reach citizens? How to ensure governments provide meaningful responses to citizen input? How to move beyond trial of new platforms to sustained adoption and engagement? How to look beyond the numbers to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of our work?

These are the questions we seek to answer every day at Reboot. After building the world’s first national mobile voter registration system in Libya, implementing Africa’s first sub-national open data program in the Niger Delta, and—just this last week—launching “MyVoice”, an open source mobile tool for citizens to provide feedback on public healthcare delivery in rural Nigeria, we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to realize the principles of open government in practice.

One question that cuts across each of these projects (and is relevant to OKFest) is how to use data—whether those provided by an institutional body, or generated through a project—to improve government accountability?

Conversations on open government data and governance data are often dominated by data providers, academics, and donor organizations. Conspicuously underrepresented are those whose actions they seek to influence (“data users”): governments and those that influence government behavior. The underrepresentation of these user voices in open government discussions means that discourse and action are biased towards the technical dimensions of data. Technical quality is important but insufficient.

Governance is ultimately about the structures and allocations of authority and power. Influencing governance processes therefore requires shifting the distribution of authority and power. Data platforms and products that seek to change governance outcomes in a particular context must be designed to respond to the social and political dynamics in that context.

Nudging data providers to think about the sociopolitical dimensions of data platforms and products means we can put the age-old saying of “context matters” into practice. The result could be, for example, a movement away from governance rankings that create competing goals of faring well globally and making progress locally, and toward measurement that better aligns government incentives with citizen needs. (To this end, we’ve been glad to see several peer organizations uniting around the Governance Data Alliance to improve governance data quality and usage. Going forward, we look forward to contributing to this network through its working group on User Feedback.)

We’d like to connect with those interested in better understanding how open government data can be leveraged to influence governance outcomes. If you are at OKFest and find yourself asking similar questions, come find us, we’d love to hear your thoughts! As with all our work, we aim to learn and share as we go. Reboot’s session is tomorrow (Wednesday, July 16) from 12:00pm–1:00pm in Space F2 (Kulturbrauerei), where I will be discussing some of our recent experiences and asking you to show off your creative problem-solving skills.

Thanks to Janet Haven for early conversations that helped shape some of this thinking.