Monday, 25 August 2008

NZ Digital Strategy Refresh - pre launch musings - part 1

David Cunliffe, NZ Minister of Communication is definitely going to be announcing the The NZ Digital Strategy refresh this Thursday at the Beehive in Wellington. He gave a few signals as to what might be in it when he spoke at the Digital Future Now conference in Auckland recently.

Soft as well as hard infrastructure initiatives?
Let's see what happens Thursday. However, personally, although I expect some strong statements on broadband, pipes and infrastructure, I am also hoping for a strong statement, or indeed a series of statements/initiatives which acknowledge the parallel need for 'soft infrastructure' i.e. projects and initiatives which build capability and creativity at all stages of the economic, cultural and social value chain.

e-Government
Also, among other areas he may or may speak to I'm hoping he touches on how best to make government a better user/maker and distributor of public data.

I know who I am - prove your an airport!
This could/might include ideas on how to make government data available through open API's, innovative ways for citizens to see and comment on the data held by government agencies, or even more adventurous, ideas like creating whole streams of software innovation based on mining data and data relationships, especially around citizen authentication and personal data.

UK Power of Information Taskforce
On that note, I have just come across a really neat idea/competition out of the UK from the Power of Information Taskforce - the outfit tasked to "help government become more open, transparent and effective through better use of published information"

This competition is asking for help in developing better ways to publish the vast swathes of non-personal information that the UK government collects & creates on behalf of the UK citizen

Public Data is Your Data
Their mantra is " Public data is your data." , and in a innovative way of engaging with the developer community [ qv BBC Backstage] they have put together a competition for ideas on how to work with public data, with a prize of £20k to develop the idea to the next level.

About the Competition
Given that the UK government produces masses of information on what is happening around the UK, the competition is about information, about communication and above all about making government information more useful. This includes information on , for example, crime, on health, on education.

So the Power of Information Taskforce want to hear ideas on how to reuse, represent, mashup or combine the information the government holds. To provide people with some raw materials they post some example links to information sources here.

The Prize - £20,000
To make things interesting, they are introducing a competitive element. They will take the best ideas from the community commenting on the website and put them to a judging panel selected by the Taskforce. Both technical and un -technical entries are welcome - the strongest ideas will win. Depending upon how the entries develop they might create some categories as the competition rolls on.

They are offering up to £20,000 {NZ$50k} to take ideas forward with a development team. That may be time with a designer to create a professional mockup that can be pitched to organisations, or some programmer time to create a working prototype.

The competition will close at the end of September, with an announcement of the winners by the end of the second week in October.

I like this idea - I like it a lot - maybe this could be one of the foundation ideas of the new Digital Development Forum - Minister Cunliffe might want to give it a bit of a push as well on Thursday?

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