As adults we've moved beyond open demonstrations of that raw emotion (hopefully), but occasionally that "mine!" instinct rears its head. In our professional lives, this sense of ownership is incredibly strong when it comes to data. We work hard to collect, maintain and leverage information from “our” datasets, and understandably feel territorial, even vulnerable, when asked to share them. In her talk, Ms. Ianotta offered some good suggestions for how to address these challenges when it comes to open data and data sharing:
Concern: If I share my data, my agency’s instantly vulnerable to criticism. You're going to tell me I stink.
Solution: Get people within your agency to see the benefits to the end user. Yes, you’re exposing a part of yourself. But the rewards are great. Understanding how "your" data can help others creates a sense of pride and purpose.
Concern: You’re going to criticize and tell me how bad my data is.
Solution: Set expectations. You know the data isn't perfect, but you can correct as you go. Ensure you've built in a feedback loop where users can report errors, making everyone a part of the process.
Concern: I have no internal support.
Solution: Make sure you have the right champions. Three are ideal—a leader, a champion and a data geek.
Not everything is meant to be shared. But some things--like a round of golf or a good meal, are better for it. The key is to take a step back and openly assess your data. How might it be used? Could it help others? Nearly everything we collect, from traffic patterns to arrests to water pollution, can be used for the greater good. Whether obvious or not, “your” data just may be that missing piece.