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Open Data friends. Tin Geber about incredible successes and enchanting fails in open data activism

Open Data friends. Tin Geber about incredible successes and enchanting fails in open data activism

Open Data friends. Tin Geber about incredible successes and enchanting fails in open data activism
Навчання
10.10.2017

This is our interview with Tin Geber, creative strategist from Croatia. His story establishing a series aimed to meet you with “open data friends” – mostly experienced open data activists of the world.

Human factor provokes inspiring successes and most enchanting fails in open data, says Geber.

His personal experience with open data includes many mistakes. On the other hand, his background includes many good examples how find exit from blind corner. You can read Tin’s stories below.


Who is Tin Geber?

Tin Geber (Croatia)

International expert. Tin mainly works on projects aimed to protect human rights and establish transparency. He focuses on networking and technical innovations.

Background

In May 2017 founded NGO tin.fyi

Before: design and technology lead in international organization The Engine Room (open data and civic tech NGO). Also provided web-support for International Land Coalition.

Personal qualities

Charismatic. Rationalist. Witty. Often laughs. Rarely gives up. Data-optimist.


 

 

 

 


Open Data. Personal story of relations

I started to work with open data when I was working for International Land Coalition five or six years ago because we were looking for publishing of big set for land deals. In creating of that database, I started to go to open data conferences and started my learning on open data standards. I found this new world where openness is key and where are ways to collect data and make it usable and standardized and just better for the citizen.

"I started to go to open data conferences and started my learning on open data standards. I found this new world" 

Since then I was working for groups on human rights, for citizen rights. Having information about what government does for them is crucial. It is the most impactful thing. For the last part of this decade, I was working on finding practical ways into using data improving the social good.


Successes stories

The biggest success story at the moment is a project I was working in Mexico on project called “Moon ship”. Group of investigative journalists managed to get from the government information about how parliamentarians spend their per diems. They receive that data as a big capacity of paper. They asked us to help.

They told us: “We want to tell stories. We want to see if there is corruption. But we have no twenty years to read through this”. We organized some sort of pipeline, mechanism how to go from paper to story by finding librarians to scan all the information to PDF format. Then we built online platform that would help provide digitization of all that information.

Then we realized it might useful for other people as well. We did some “replications prints” of this platform.

And we found other organizations like OPORA in Ukraine and “K-Monitor” from Hungary to eork with this platform but with their own data.

It was actually success.

“K-Monitor” used platform to liberate data of income declarations of parliamentarians in one night. 


 

 

 

 


Epic fails

There have been many fails. Most of fails usually revolve around failure to recognize no one problem is a technical problem but every problem is a human problem. F.e., if we dedicate time to develop technological solution then you might find out so many resources needed to get something going. You may have great tech but then nothing happens. 

"... no one problem is a technical problem but every problem is a human problem"

In practical terms, the “Moon ship” is also a fail. Group working on that in Mexico simply did not have time and resources to mobilize huge groups of people to do the work on digitization. We did not have so many resources to support them in this very-very long process.
But I still hope it will happen because there is a big interest and a platform still there. It is so important for this information to get out. And we still try to find groups could support this in Mexico. 


Open data generations (see more HERE about this)

I think it’s about techno determinism how we call that. At the beginning of open data wave, the mantra was “Openness for openness! We just need to open up data”.  And that was great! That was needed to happen. We needed this hype to make people think about this.
Now, at this stage, open data need to come second. Citizen needs need to come first.

"...at this stage, open data need to come second. Citizen needs need to come first".

Ukraine in some aspects is very well in the second stage and do it in very smart way. But only one part of country. Another part still struggling with the first stage. I think it’s because in some locations people learned experience of successes and failures from other countries and only then started their own projects. Btw, ProZorro is a pretty good example.

Ukraine in some aspects is very well in the second stage and do it in very smart way. But only one part of country. Another part still struggling with the first stage. I think it’s because in some locations people learned experience of successes and failures from other countries and only then started their own projects. Btw, ProZorro is a pretty good example.

 

This story written by team of “AppsforCities” initiative (common project of OPORA and TechSoup Europe)

 

 

Організатори:

OPORA TechSoup NED NED

 

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