Open4Policy Hackathon - Event Report

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Hackathon 660X400

The Open4Policy Hackathon was designed and launched to correspond with the Government of Canada’s (GoC) Open Government Week, May 7-11, 2018. The event was ultimately a successful exercise in transparency, exposing a wide audience to the process of policy-making and helping to demystify government processes to the public at large through an investigation of inclusive innovation policy in Canada. The event successfully tested and explored the limits of the open data available through the various mediums curated by the government of Canada, however, in terms of the event’s stated objective of employing Open Data to solve a policy problem, Hackathon participants encountered grievous difficulties due to poor data quality and erratic database maintenance. 

  Participants ultimately opted to re-frame the exercise in terms of how inclusive innovation is limited by low data quality representing certain constituencies, which themselves are at risk of “exclusion”. With reliable and vibrant data availability providing a significant contribution to innovation capacity in the digital age, data poverty has the ability to perpetuate and exacerbate exclusion. Participants ended the exercise by generating recommendations on how data quality can be improved and made more usable in excluded communities, particularly focusing on rural and remote communities. The event also touched on how the mandates of data and statistically focused institutions can be reframed for the conditions of the digital age.

About the author

Mark Robbins

Mark Robbins

Senior Researcher

Mark's work principally addresses impact of the digital revolution on government, governance and public administration as well as how government itself impacts technological development through its actions. Mark can be found working on a range of projects related to 21st century policy areas including modernization, innovation and digital government.

Prior to joining the IOG, he held various research positions on economic and political affairs, including at the Munk School at the University of Toronto, the Conference Board of Canada, UN-ESCAP, the Canadian Transportation Agency and the Parliament of Canada.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science from the University of Ottawa, an M.A. in Political Economy from Carleton University and a certificate in commerce from Mohawk College.

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