VIDEO: Capitol Day mines the economic opportunity of open data

150 150 John Guenther

Open data isn’t just about making government more transparent and holding it more accountable, it’s an economic opportunity, especially with all of the innovation and entrepreneurial gumption in Silicon Valley. At this year’s California Economic Summit – Capitol Day, the conversation wrapped up with a discussion moderated by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (video above) on the value of government data that has and could be made available here in California (You can read/watch all of our Capitol Day coverage in our archive here).

That sentiment was nicely summed up on stage by Kish Rajan, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

“But purely from an economic perspective, I want to unleash that data so that it can be used more effectively by government and then to welcome in civic entrepreneurs and brilliant creative minds that, if they just get access to the information, they can create tools and applications and things we would have never dreamed of–I never would have dreamed of GPS on my mobile device in the 1980s, can’t live without it today–those kinds of brilliant minds, as we know, are all over California,” said Rajan. “Let’s give them the fodder to take that next wave of innovation and jobs that go with it.”

Rajan was joined on stage by civic entrepreneur Yo Yoshida, whose company was born from data sets released by City of San Francisco. Appalicious helped create, along with the Mayor’s Office and and the Department of Public Health, the app Neighborhood Score which gathers data from the City to give a block-by-block health and safety rating to every neighborhood. 

Yoshida and many other civic entreprenuers have participated in CA Fwd’s open data roadshow making its way across the state to talk about the economic and good government case for cities, counties and the state to get data standardized and readily available. 

“Now there are over 500 major civic startups that I consider established and cleared the 3-year mark,” said Yoshida in Sacramento at Capitol Day. “For the startup world that’s pretty significant. There’s at least 500 and it’s growing into the thousands, the smaller ones that have taken our lead and it’s becoming an economic growth opportunity that has never been there before and this is all brand new business.”

Newsom talked up the value of releasing data at a low cost so that innovators in the private sector could tackle problems that would normally require a lengthy procurement process for a government to even start to address.

“Pick a state agency, a federal agency, and by just bringing this data to light in what’s referred to as in a machine-readable way, you can standardize that data in a way where actual people like Yo can download that data and match it up with other data and all of the sudden come up with solutions to a problem we never knew existed or create opportunities to solve problems that government knows too well exists.”

Watch Part One of Capitol Day: “Welcome & The Summit Plan to Advance Prosperity,” Part Two “Training Workers for the Next Economy & Speaker Atkins,” and Part Three “Capitol Day asks Senator Steinberg how California economy can grow sustainably,” and Part Four “Capitol Day turns California water, landscapes and economy beyond the drought.”

And you can catch all of the other sections of the Capitol Day program on this YouTube playist. Thanks goes to CalChannel for recording and editing their video of Capitol Day.


John Guenther

All stories by: John Guenther