Tag Archives: Derren Brown

Open data: of illusions and conjuring tricks

This entry is part 3 of 6 in the series Open data: magic from the inside out?

This is part 3 in a series thinking about whether the magic of open data in local government might be found from the inside out. In part 1, I considered the phrase ‘open data’ and pointed to thoughts elsewhere and part 2 suggested we needed to start from inside our organisations. In today’s third part I’m thinking about those who make magic.

Of illusions and conjuring tricks

In the last post I said that thinking about open data needed to start with how it improves what we do within our organisations because then we might understand it, recognise the value people might add to it and therefore properly champion the concept of ‘open data’.

It’s all very well saying that but if the narrative about exposing public data is difficult then an internal conversation which talks about what data could do for us is perhaps going to be thwarted before it gets off the ground anyway.

Part of the issue is that without concrete examples conversations can tend far too often towards the technicalities. The most helpful conversations aren’t comparing SOAP and RESTful APIs or talking about integration, nor will they bring up open standards or this protocol or that data format with the layman. Phil Jewitt recently wrote a couple of blog posts (1, 2) about how those beyond the project team didn’t need to know about SCRUM they just needed to know what was necessary. The most helpful conversations have at their heart somebody enthusiastically committed to sharing the secret of what’s possible.

Arthur C Clarke’s third law of prediction says that

“any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” Continue reading Open data: of illusions and conjuring tricks