Open Cities Summit (V). Ideathon workshops

Notes from the Open Cities Summit, part of the International Open Data Conference 2016, and held in Madrid, Spain, on 5 October 2016. More notes on this event: opencitiessummit and iodc16.

Ideathon workshops: Interdisciplinary collaboration and organizational change Katelyn Rogers, Open Knowledge Foundation Eric Reese, Johns Hopkins University

Agencies that do not talk to each other.

Barriers to work with other organizations, especially across disciplines.

Political impact vs. technical impact:

  • what are the priorities
  • budget constraints
  • role of infomediaries
  • Horizontal collaboration vs. hierarchical paths
    • multidepartment teams
    • who leads (what department leads)

Restarting connections, changes in leadership (e.g. elections change the mayor, etc.), having to convince again the leaders or decision-makers

The is not an internal culture of data.

How does institutionalization happens?

Is open data part of the internal/institutional process?

Technical language might be a barrier.

  • have to explain what technology does or implies, e.g. what an API or JSON is and what it does and what it implies
  • have to build a space so that everybody understands the concepts

How to?

  • identify the beneficiaries
  • identify the different usages
  • create feedback loops
  • make positive stories
  • remove the barriers for the people to engage (with agencies), often meaning removing the middle-man, shortening the gap between users and agencies, making agencies accountable of their own data
  • build communication channels that are constructive
  • give them answers not just raw data
  • empower people
  • allow people to engage with information, sometimes even providing different interfaces for the very same data, but or different profiles
  • build trust, active listening


  • Start with the challenge. This includes the law, legacy systems, social context.
  • Using/creating common language together, creating a common place/context.
  • Building trust, making sure that feedback loops exist, having an ear and being able to listen, remove barriers to conversations.


4th International Data Conference (2016)

If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2016) “Open Cities Summit (V). Ideathon workshops” In ICTlogy, #157, October 2016. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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