Over the past decade, there has been a considerable trend towards greater openness and transparency with meaningful information concerning the public. From open source, to open content to open access, the public is steadily gaining a broader and more in-depth look at the underpinnings of society, and decision-making is gradually becoming more decentralized. The availability of data has previously been limited to executives and data specialists, whereas for everyone else, exposure to these sources is often delayed, intermittent, or simply unavailable.
The Open Data Movement
Open data is valuable information that is both free and easily accessible to anyone, without limitations or restrictions. Governments are particularly interested in fostering this new strategy for connecting with their residents, a movement which has become known as open government. Many government bodies have begun to recognize the benefits of conducting more open and transparent operations. Information ranging from legislation, policies, and practices to government performance are being made available to the public through a single source.
Open government data has the potential to promote significant change for the operation of a city and the lives of its residents. Here are just a few of the ways that the open data movement can lead to a more effective and efficient government…
1. Increases Transparency and Accountability
The trend towards open data means that members of the public can stay connected, informed, and up to date with the day-to-day operations of their local government. The public nature of this information holds governments accountable for the results they produce. Residents have the ability to see exactly what their government has achieved, and how much more needs to be done. Failure to attain certain results or meet a particular milestone or goal will be publicized and up for public scrutiny. Conversely, achieving or exceeding goals will help to establish a greater and more trusting relationship with local residents.
2. Develops Trust, Credibility and Reputation
The transparent nature of publically accessible data exposes a side of an organization which is quite often kept under wraps. This sort of openness and vulnerability is comparable to sharing aspects of your personal life with another person. Disclosure of this nature serves to bring people together; there is a considerable amount of trust and respect that comes with an open and honest conversation, and the result is quite often a closer and more dependent relationship between the two parties. In the same way, open government data helps to establish trust and credibility with citizens. Open data can give residents peace of mind that the government is consistantly working to deliver on promises, and making decisions in the best interests of the community.
3. Promotes Progress and Innovation
The value of key performance data has few bounds when set loose in the public sphere. Open data provides new opportunities for commercial applications, improves time-to-market for businesses, and can form the foundation for new technological innovation and economic growth. Third parties without the resources to gather this data for themselves will be able to repurpose it, and utilize the information to develop new applications and services. Information provided in this way is also significant for academic, public-sector, and industry-based research communities. Open data vastly increases the value of information and allows it to travel and be utilized to its full potential.
4. Encourages Public Education and Community Engagement
What better way to educate the community on progress and performance of the city than to have all the information displayed in a clear and user-friendly display? Open government data enables you to proactively answer those frequently asked questions by making the information freely accessible. Information can be made available as quickly as it is gathered, which means that the public can become involved and offer valuable feedback from throughout the entire process. Access to meaningful data aids in unifying a community and empowering them to help shape the direction for the future.
5. Stores and Preserves Information Over Time
Finally, the availability of consolidated information in a single and easily accessible location is advantageous for the use of both current information and for historical data that has been gathered over time. This method of data storage ensures that all information will appear where and how it is supposed to, and that it will remain in that location for future reference. This also allows for the potential to observe trends and changes in the data over time.
Openness and transparency are two characteristics we greatly value at Envisio. Consequently, we have developed the Envisio Public Dashboard, enabling our customers a convenient way to share their strategic plan progress and performance measurement results with the public, harnessing all the benefits of open data in a single, easy-to-use platform.
Envisio is a cloud-based strategic plan implementation, performance measures tracking and reporting platform that helps align your strategic and operational plans, saving your staff time when tracking and reporting on progress.
With Envisio's Public Dashboard, not only are you streamlining your city's operation and demonstrating progress towards your strategic priorities, you are supporting the open data movement and building trust within your community.