Youth and the use of open data: allow creativity to flourish

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August 9, 2017

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat had the immense privilege of receiving the Global Shapers community on Thursday, July 13, for an intensive design jam on four issues that the federal public service is facing:

  1. Youth engagement on Open government
  2. Attracting talent to the government
  3. Public services and the digital world
  4. Public service support for Canadian companies that want to export

Young people from all parts of the world addressed these topics with enthusiasm and creativity. For the Open Government team, this was an opportunity to engage the Shapers in problem solving around an area where we are still trying to determine an approach:  youth engagement.

Participants were asked to define the needs of young people regarding access to - and the use of - open government data. They were then invited to propose innovative solutions for meeting those needs.

Proposals by Global Shapers

Several very interesting possibilities were proposed. The underlying concern in each proposal was community engagement throughout the process; whether during the research stage if there is no existing data, or in the analysis of data stage, to facilitate interpretation of the data.

One team in particular suggested putting individuals who are unsuccessful in their search in touch with a virtual community interested in the same issue. The portal would give the community the opportunity to take part in building knowledge around open data, while allowing the Government to better understand the concerns of Canadians.

Another team drew from the Reddit platform to suggest a forum where people interested in data could discuss their interpretations, ask questions and improve the analysis of government data.

Another very relevant idea that was put forward was to present data in the form of simplified information and data visualization, while providing access to raw data for individuals wishing to further pursue their analysis.

These three ideas, focusing on user needs, offer promising areas for future work in open government, particularly regarding the use of open data.

What do you think?

We’re interested in your opinion! You can post your comments below, send an email to our engagement teams or post tweets using the hashtag #OpenGovCan.


Sarah Bérubé recently started the Advanced Policy Analyst Program with her first placement at Treasury Board of Canada, on the Open Government team.

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