New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network

Canadian Open Data Summit – coming soon to our backyard!

Excitement is growing about the Canadian Open Data Summit on April 28th in Saint John, and you can hear it in the voices of the co-hosts, Nick Scott and Cathy Simpson.

What excites you about CODS being here in NB?

Nick: It is indicative of the progress we are making in our small province of New Brunswick, which is generating interest across the country. It’s a unique opportunity for us to learn from open data experts from across the nation, and it brings new opportunities to collaborate with new partners.

Cathy: What excites me is that we are having a national open data conversation in our own backyard! What an opportunity to learn while also highlighting the work that is going on here and the vision that we have for open data. It’s an opportunity to bring multiple sectors and partners to the table to have that conversation – and we hope it is the beginning of many.

Nick: And who doesn’t want to host a party with a bunch of passionate open data people?

Who should attend and why?

Cathy: CODS16 is an accelerated learning curve to understanding the possibilities of what open data can do for our economy and our society. If you are a technologist you can hear about some of the technical elements of providing and accessing data. If you are an entrepreneur and you are thinking about what problems you can solve if you have access to data then come and hear from people who are generating and disseminating open data. If you are from government you can learn what other jurisdictions are doing, and how the cause is being advanced to deliver government services. And if you are a citizen, you can hear what all this means as we make decisions about how we live in our world and get you more engaged.

Nick: Cathy makes a very important point. There is tremendous shared value in open data, and the magic of open data is the ability to repurpose data and derive value that may not have been intended, and that would otherwise not have been realized. The magic will only occur if we have a diversity of people and perspectives at this event. So if you come at the world from a social impact lens this is your opportunity to build your capacity to use data for social good. If you are an entrepreneur, you can learn how you can generate economic value and solve problems with data. If you are from government, you can discover how opening data can help you better do your job through generating evidence for policy development. If you are an academic researcher, you can gain further insights and deepen the knowledge pool through greater access to data. That is absolutely the key – the shared value around open data.

Let’s say it’s 6 pm on April 28th. What is the most important tangible outcome you personally are hoping will have happened? What will make you happiest?

Nick: I will be happy if there is a level of enthusiasm and commitment to advancing an open data agenda in the province, for government to collaborate outside its walls. It goes back to the magic, for me, of bringing the unusual suspects to the table, folks making connections for the first time, meeting people who are working on the same things as they are but from a different part of our world. Bringing those people together is really exciting.

Cathy: I’m looking for light bulbs to come on – Eureka moments. Awareness and education help to dispel fear and uncertainty, so a great day would be a lot more people informed about what this open data movement is so that it inspires them to get engaged – and that can be socially or economically. I hope to see inspired citizens, government employees, entrepreneurs leaving saying, “This is the opportunity for us to grab hold of.” And that’s what TechImpact and the Government of NB are trying to do through nb+. We want people leaving the Summit saying, “Now I get it!”

Registration is open for CODS16. For more information, check out the agenda. Speakers at the Summit will include Dr Michael Geist, holder of the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law, and Nigel Jacob, Founder and Co-Chair for the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston, plus engaging panels and workshops on Smart Cities, Data for Social Impact, Open by Default: The Challenges, and Commercialization/Innovation.

Nick Scott is Managing Director of the NB Social Policy Research Network. Cathy Simpson is Vice President, Public Sector at T4G and Tech Impact lead on nb+.

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A Ginger Design