The Power of Public Data to Spur Innovation

June 30, 2016 12:00 pm PST | Data News Roundup

Get a peek inside California’s new Innovation Lab, which aims to further engagement and transparency by giving state employees a sandbox to test out open source technology. Plus, a look at the importance of making governmental data readily accessible (not just legally available), why government should go digital, and more big stories in this week’s Open Data Download:

The Democratization of Public Data and Analytics Tools

“In practical terms, when people talk about open data, they are usually talking about government data (local, state, and federal). In the private sector, enterprises guard their data carefully, and that isn’t likely to change. But governments collect and generate enormous amount of data that is available for use by anyone. The trick is to gain access to that data. The fact that data in the public sector is legally available doesn’t mean it is accessible. And this is where open data initiatives enter the picture.” Read more from

Sneak Peek: Examining the California Innovation Lab

“The lab is being billed as a ‘tech habitat’ that will boost engagement and transparency by giving state employees and their partners a place to build, test and deploy open source technologies in a cost-effective and efficient way.” Read more from GovTech.

Jonathan Aberman: Why not a digital government?

“Imagine how much happier you would be at tax time if your IRS filing came to you pre-populated with your income and deductions, so all you had to do was sign and wait for your refund. Or, if you could apply for disability payments and arrange for direct deposit over the Internet. How about being able to start a new company online in minutes? Wouldn’t you like to be able to discover when your personal data was accessed by a government employee?” Read more from the Washington Post.

Anchorage Advances Open Data Policy

“Anchorage has now joined other U.S. cities, by providing open data access to food inspection reports. As Mayor Ethan Berkowitz described, “The fact that we have downloaded the food inspection data onto Yelp, makes it easier for people to make choices about restaurants.’” Read more from

Agencies need leadership buy-in to innovate, officials say

“Agency leadership needs to be fully on board with modernization projects if agencies are going to innovate, according to two federal technology experts who lead such projects in their agencies.” Read more from

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