Govloop, a community of public sector professionals, recently published their Top 5 Predictions for Government in 2014, and "Open Data as Innovation Driver" made the list. We're inclined to agree – not only that Open Data is important, but that it could be among the most powerful drivers for the Government of Canada throughout 2014.
Govloop is not alone in making this prediction. McKinsey's 2013 report Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information suggests that open data may generate significant economic value of over $3 trillion a year in additional value across seven sectors of the economy. The IBM Center for the Business of Government has highlighted open data as a key enabler of accountability through transparency under one of its six trends for 2014. Deloitte's 2014 Outlook on the Federal Government has also identified public-private partnerships as driving solutions for social good, and we see Open Data as an enabling tool for civic-minded organizations. Lastly, the Chief Data Officer of Philadelphia, Mark Headd, has written that 2014 will be the year of Open Data.
All of the above sounds very optimistic, especially when you consider that 2013 was the year that open government data was "sliding into the trough [of disillusionment]" according to Gartner's Hype Cycle for Smart Government. Their thinking is that Open Data advocates should have been tempering their expectations for open data, and start realizing limitations and drawbacks, rather than listing it as a top driver for innovation.
2013 turned out to be a big year for Open Data in Canada. And if the best predictor for future behaviour is past behaviour, our bets are on a bright, promising year for Open Data in 2014.
Open Data in Canada
Looking back on the last calendar year, June 2013 saw the Government of Canada launch the new data.gc.ca and, it is expected that the depth of data available at data.gc.ca will only increase with each forthcoming year.
Moving forward in 2014, the ecosystem of Open Data initiatives in Canada, including municipal and provincial initiatives, will continue to expand. The community of Open Data enthusiasts is growing, and events like CODE – the Canadian Open Data Experience will only accelerate the socialization of Open Data, bringing people and the Open Data community together to explore new uses and innovations. With all this in mind, we at data.gc.ca think that the promise offered by Open Data is just beginning to unfold.
Stephen Walker, Lead, Open Government
Treasury Board Secretariat