Deadline extended to Nov 30! Applications open for TESTING123 Innovation Fund at Global Integrity

TESTING123 Deadline Extended to November 30

If you were planning to submit an application to the Global Integrity TESTING123 Innovation Fund, it’s not too late! The deadline for submissions has been extended by another two weeks. Details and application form at

Global Integrity is looking to invest in brand new ideas that target the challenges of transparency and accountability.  Truly innovative, wacky ideas so out there that they might fail. But they have to be testable within a reasonable time frame. If you have an idea or two that you have always wanted to try out, I’d really recommend that you apply.. and not just for the money either (most grants will be in the $10k range). The application process itself is innovative and thoughtful, and may well help you to find that nugget that makes your idea impactful. The GI team also is interested in helping out with projects along the way.

Slash Open and the Open Data Challenge

At a the recent Unlocking the potential of Open Data event held by Lasa Louise Brown and I presented a session on what can be done by non-profit organisations when they open up just a tiny crumb of data. Our aim was to encourage organisations to not only make use of data already out there but to open some of their own data up in turn and see what can happen.

We set the Open Data Challenge to encourage organisations to get started. We asked organisations to share their UK Charity Number and the number of people or organisations they worked with in the financial year 2010-2011. Matt from Lamplight then did a quick mash-up to demonstrate how even just a small piece of data can yield potentially exciting results.

In preparing the session we put together an online resource to support the Open Data Challenge called VCS Open. It was based on the Slash Open model, listing UK voluntary organisations who have opened their data, and hacks and mash-ups that have been done based on that data. After the session however it quickly became apparent that there was a considerable duplication of labour in maintaining the VCSOpen directory with the Slash Open directory so we will be transferring that resource to the Slash Open pages and look forward to helping build an international “one-stop-shop” for non-profit Open Data.

The voluntary and non-profit sectors are taking their first steps in Open Data. The benefits in learning, sharing, trust, transparency and accountability are enormous but these benefits are hindered by the scattered nature of the datasets. There is currently no central repository for voluntary sector Open Data as there is for government data (e.g. Organisations are publishing their data on their own websites and this limits how readily accessible that data really is. This is where Slash Open comes in.

By publishing their Data to a /open page and then listing that page in the Slash Open directory, organisations can make sure their data is open in a real sense. In turn, those people who are accessing the data and using it can post the results to the directory so it can be used by the organisations themselves. This is just the start but I believe Slash Open could provide a gateway to the “critical mass” of data we need to see the real and, as yet, unrealised benefits of Open Data. Let’s get behind it and see where it takes us!

Open Development Explained: the view from Nairobi by Open for Change

I was glad to come across this video on the new page (mostly in dutch), which does an excellent job of explaining Open Data and “open development” from a Nairobi perspective. The video has excellent visualizations and interviews with Linet Kwamboka of the Kenya ICT Board and Rolf Kleef of Open for Change. I also enjoyed the Nairobi street scenes which made me nostalgic about my childhood days growing up in Nairobi and the scenes shot in Nailab, a tech incubator in Nairobi.

Open Development Explained from Open for Change on Vimeo.

A short video defining “Open Development” and explaining its potential, with a focus on Open Data.

There are many new ways to let citizens, organisations, governments and companies work together, and share knowledge and information using internet and mobiles, to help solve some of our biggest problems.

How do we make the data and information meaningful for the groups we want to empower with these new tools? How do we create new services, new business models, and new ways of campaigning? How do we safeguard the security of vulnerable people? Is “open development” effective, and efficient?

Storyline: Open For Change -
Video: Africa Interactive -
Animation: Vive Visuals -

CALLING ALL DATA HACKERS! Get up to $10k to try out your innovative new idea through Global Integrity Innovation Fund

Are you a data hacker with a new idea you have been wanting to try out that you think will help promote transparency and accountability? Do you need a little extra motivation? Then you will want to head over to right now to apply for a $10k grant.

I am a connector for the initiative and will be blogging, nudging, and encouraging people in my networks to take advantage of this opportunity. Please help spread the word to innovators in your communities and let me know if you have questions or suggestions on where to post.

Here’s the proposition in a nutshell from Global Integrity:

We are investing in brand new ideas that target the challenges of transparency & accountability.

For us, innovation is ‘learning through trial’. We want to prioritize innovation in our own work by taking on new approaches to test, learn, and improve. Through our Innovation Fund we hope to encourage others in the transparency community to do the same.


Submit an application here. We want to know a little bit about you, your organization (if you work for one), and of course, your idea!


NOW. Applications are due on Friday, November 16, 2012 at 5pm EST. Be ready for the possibility of follow-up questions at any point after you submit your application. We will notify you on our decision to take your idea to the next round or not by December 21. Our final announcement of ideas that we are investing in will be in early 2013.


We will be investing in 10 to 15 ideas, with up to 10,000 USD per idea.


You have an innovative idea that could create new information or change the way we see existing information, with the goal of holding those responsible for governing us, to account. You want to test this idea out, but you need a little push to take the risk!

Open Data at the Nonprofits and Data Summit in Seattle, 8 Aug 2012

Crossposted from Kabissa ( 

I am leading a 60 minute session about Open Data at the Nonprofits and Data Summit in Seattle on 8 August. The event is organized by NTEN, a nonprofit technology support network known for its annual conference in the United States and very useful webinars and newsletters geared towards nonprofits trying to make the most of tech. Thanks to support from Google the summit is free of charge to join. Live streaming via Internet will also be available via the event page, no registration needed. Click here for details and to register.

In many ways, Data should be viewed as the “next frontier” in how nonprofits (and everyone, for that matter) use technology to achieve goals and get our work done. One reason for this is that, increasingly, our work and life is moving online and all of us have become dependent on “cloud” service providers. Those service providers are now in charge of taking care of our data, and that we have to trust them to use it responsibly. (See Another Cloud is Possible webinar video over at Aspiration for an excellent primer)

Open Data is one response for Data-driven nonprofits to consider. If we are already going to be putting our Data online to let other people use it, why not publish some of it using a license and format that allows not just Google or Facebook but anyone to download it and do what they like with it?

Of course this may seem outlandish and doesn’t make sense for all Data, but it’s a conversation you should start in your organization. That’s the purpose of the site I created which encourages everyone to put a /open page on their site outlining their open data intentions (e..g we did this at Kabissa at That’s what I want to talk about in my session at the summit.

From the Nonprofits and Data Summit event page:

Useful data helps nonprofits make good decisions about where to focus efforts and how to allocate resources, and can help secure funding. In fact, data has become a pervasive part of the work most nonprofits do. Join NTEN for a one-day workshop,taking place in Seattle, WA, where we’ll explore ways to make data easier to manage, more useful, and mission-focused.

And my session description:

Technical: Making the Case for Going Open Data – Tobias Eigen

According to the Open Definition, “A piece of content or data is open if anyone is free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.” While Open Data may not be for everyone, all data-driven organizations should look at their data and consider going open data with at least some of it for their own good and for the good of the communities they serve. This session will focus on understanding what Open Data means, why it is important, and how organizations can go Open Data.


Wiser Earth embraces /open standard

I am very pleased to welcome the latest addition to /open. Wiser Earth is a nonprofit organization maintaining an online platform that  ”helps the global movement of people and organizations working toward social justice, indigenous rights, and environmental stewardship to connect, collaborate, share knowledge, and build alliances.” The data being shared on the platform by members is published using Open Data, as explained on their /open page at

The use of /open by Wiser Earth is exactly what I had in mind when I created /open in the first place: informative and clear /open page following our guidelines, well placed Open Data link in the site footer linking to it, strong blog post introducing it all to their community, and /open badge and links back to to help spread /open. I’m pleased to include Wiser Earth in the /open Directory.

I will be making another round of improvements to the site soon – please keep us on your radar and let me know if you have any feedback at all or would like to contribute. Also welcome inquiries about the /open standard and going Open Data anytime.

And now a screenshot of the Wiser Earth /open page:

/open badges now available – get yours today!

I am pleased to ‘unveil’ the new /open badges, which Mark Root Wiley generously donated to the /open project. Mark also did the /open website banner which I think has particularly meaningful associations with earth/sky and slashopen/opendata. The clouds in the images are borrowed from a photo of the sky by allfr3d on flickr. I hope you like them as much as I do!

Get yours now at

Please help spread the Open Data cause and encourage more Open Data organizations to create /open pages by displaying the /open badge on your site, blog, or even directly on your own /open page.

Do let us know when you’ve got the badge up and your /open page in place so we can feature you in the /open Directory. Thanks!

SlashOpen framework in place – next steps: making the case for Open Data and badges!

I took a fresh look at this site today and, all modesty aside, am still quite happy with the way it is coming together. I’ve put some more detail in the About page on how people can use SlashOpen to join and help spread the Open Data movement, and created a new Guidelines page containing a simple checklist of info that should be available on /open pages. Still looking for more info and input from others that have more experience with this than I do. Please drop me a line with feedback or contribute a comment to Ruth’s post on what should be included on /open pages.

The next priority from my point of view is to get more info together to explain why Open Data is so important – to that end I welcome contributing bloggers. Contact me if you’re interested or go ahead and create an account. I will then give you author status so you can contribute to the blog. Thanks!

I also would like to get a SlashOpen logo and badge organized as soon as possible – let me know if you’re interested in doing this or have ideas for getting this done. Shouldn’t be that hard to do.

What should be included in /open?

Data is everywhere. From a company site to a city tourism website. Every web contains loads of data that could be used for analysis and visualization. However, in most cases the data is hidden or wrapped around other information.

Just when open data is becoming large, there is a need of some guidelines to include it into the website. Slashopen initiative is moving a step forward in doing this. It believes /open should be in every single website, just as /about or /home are. This kind of defacto subsites, make accesibility better and  /open could be another.

But…what should be included in this /open? In my honest opinion, two things. First, some description of what kind of data you are publishing in comprehensive words and easy to understand for everybody, nothing technical or too much specialized. Second, the datasets you have open and published.

And what if you own a website and you haven’t had the chance to start releasing datasets published? Then I think you need to write something short and easy to understand what people can do with your website data, even if there are no datasets. Is it possible to scrape that data? Can a third party reuse your website data? These kind of questions should be clearly answered. Something like what should be written in your terms and conditions.

Having this information easy to find will make a stable framework for others play around with website data and indeed website owners will benefit from it.

And now, what do YOU think it should be included in /open?