Data literacy and digital government

OECD have surveyed digitalization in governments and the ability to maintain open, useful and re-usable data. I attended a workshop with the Swedish government recently and I must applaud the OECD team that really revealed where Sweden got lost in Digital stressing a lack of data literacy in multiple levels. Low data literacy is cemented with large investments in locked-in and outsourced IT-solutions. Thankfully there are lots of countries that could help inspire Sweden now that Sweden is such a low ranking Digital Government:

Digital Government is about evolving e-Government for participation. Re-use and usefulness are essential in this, but our ability to maintain and secure digital solutions are invested elsewhere in closed and locked in services with broad agreements. We should ask if the data is portable, if we can relocate when a service provider becomes abusive, if we can learn from the service and develop it without costly restrictions. This can't be fixed with service level agreements and insurances where power is shifted outside of our control. The value of open standards and open source needs to be regulated unless decision makers are qualified to see the large scale benefits of open innovation. No wonder its hard to find qualified developers in system X on platform Y, that is fully controlled by company Z. It gets even worse as we fund education of developers in frameworks controlled by Z.

It boils down to a lack in data literacy in procurement, maintaining data literacy as a investment and understanding on how to protect our long term knowledge and sovereignty. When we outsource our data, disregarding our ability to participate and collaborate, then we also outsource our knowledge and our future.

Factors that enable participation and re-use are:
  1. Open source in government procurement for re-use and open contributions.
  2. Open standards (re-usable data-protocols and formats) in requirements
  3. Knowledge in how to integrate and separate core-services reliably and efficiently. 
These are drivers to grow knowledge, independence and to innovate as a country. Without data literate decision makes, its hard to be data-driven, rational and competitive.

You can find the OECD data here: http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?QueryId=78414
There is an overview of open data in Sweden here: https://oppnadata.se/
government/county: http://sweden.census.okfn.org/
cities: http://se-city.census.okfn.org/