I think for many Agile Staffordshire participants, including me, it was a great introduction to an organisation of which only the name may have been familiar. Stuart provided a spirited talk on the rationale for open data and shed some light on how open data has already gained some traction.
It is possible I am really late to the ‘open data game’, but I find the idea profound. I first encountered open data systems being realised during Brooklyn Beta 2013. Since then I have been interested in how applications can make use of available open data to overcome information hoarding. I think this is relevant to Agile Staffordshire, many of us being involved in software development for the web. How many great projects have stalled due to unavailable data; and particularly data that could really benefit society by being open, authoritative and reliable? Public information could be stored in several data stores, with no external access to the organisation responsible and with no arbitration or authority. Stuart explained the situation by way of a scenario involving an app designed to provide information on public transport.
The introduction to ODI provides Agile Staffordshire with a number of things to think about:
- How can we become more open? Would it help attract more members if we were?
- Could we make our projects open, inviting other interest groups to make use of the fruits of our labour?
- Is there scope to making our event planning open? Again, some transparency may assist us with reaching more people in the local area.
Overall, for me the main message seems clear. Great software, great business and great people all seem to share one particular trait. They all create more value than they take. ODI embodies this principle and I think we are better off for their endeavours. Software that provides a great experience and service, but also provides opportunity for others to build on it and create value elsewhere is good for everyone.