Tactical Data Engagement guide

and  at the Sunlight Foundation: “United States cities face a critical challenge when it comes to fulfilling the potential of open data: that of moving beyond the mere provision of access to data toward the active facilitation of stakeholder use of data in ways that bring about community impact. Sunlight has been researching innovative projects and strategies that have helped cities tackle this challenge head on. Today we’re excited to share a guide for our new approach to open data in U.S. cities–an approach we’re calling “Tactical Data Engagement,” designed to drive community impact by connecting the dots between open data, public stakeholders, and collaborative action.

Access is critical but we have more work to do

Many city leaders have realized that open data is a valuable innovation to bring to city hall, and have invoked the promise of a new kind of relationship between government and the people: one where government works with the public in new collaborative ways. City mayors, managers, council members, and other leaders are making commitments to this idea in the US, with over 60 US cities having adopted open data reforms since 2006, nearly 20 in 2016 alone–many with the help of the Sunlight team as part of our support of the What Works Cities initiative. While cities are building the public policy infrastructure for open data, they are also making technical advancements as municipal IT and innovation departments build or procure new open data portals and release more and more government datasets proactively online….

However, … these developments alone are not enough. Portals and policies are critical infrastructure for the data-driven open government needed in the 21st century; but there has been and continues to be a disconnect between the rhetoric and promise of open data when compared to what it has meant in terms of practical reform. Let us be clear: the promise of open data is not about data on a website. The promise is for a new kind of relationship between government and the governed, one that brings about collaborative opportunities for impact. While many reforms have been successful in building an infrastructure of access, many have fallen short in leveraging that infrastructure for empowering residents and driving community change.

Announcing Tactical Data Engagement

In order to formulate an approach to help cities go further with their open data programs, Sunlight has been conducting an extensive review of the relevant literature on open data impact, and of the literature on approaches to community stakeholder engagement and co-creation (both civic-tech or open-data driven as well as more traditional)….

The result so far is our “Tactical Data Engagement” Guide (still in beta) designed to address what we see as the the most critical challenge currently facing the open data movement: helping city open data programs build on a new infrastructure of access to facilitate the collaborative use of open data to empower residents and create tangible community impact…(More)”