Park, Shah on open data and global development

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park and U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Raj Shah discussed the power of open data and its effect on global development in a new blog post.

Shah and Park summarized what the two learned from a “DataJam” held last month at the White House that brought together entrepreneurs and federal government leaders to discuss the impact open development data has on strengthening entrepreneurship in the United States and developing countries.

“Although we often talk about our business-like focus on data and the importance of delivering concrete results, the reality is that the open data movement has been inspired not only by analytical logic but also in large part by a shared passion to help change the world,” Park and Shah wrote.

The DataJam highlighted the following initiatives:

  • Tracking election transparency in Kenya with the non-profit Ushahidi;
  • The State Department’s Tech@State and TechCamp conference and workshop platforms that bring in-country technologists and entrepreneurs together to solve local—and global—problems;
  • The announcement that FEWSnet, USAID’s Famine Early Warning System Network, is launching a competition to analyze USAID data to better inform and improve decision-making.

“When you apply your vision and expertise to this task—when you add to the growing stores of data for use in new and creative ways—you are helping an infant take its first easy breath and live to celebrate her fifth birthday,” Park and Shah said. “You are helping farmers grow more nutritious foods, fostering healthy families and prosperous communities. You are helping end the enduring outrage of human trafficking. This is the power of open data.”