China + USA Discussion About Open Data

Open data is a global concern. While most of our work has been concentrated in Texas, we have our eye on the international unfolding of data driven decision making, and what it means for different kinds of governments. That’s why I’m so excited to embark on our first international collaboration with China, spearheaded by Bruce Haupt. Bruce and I have worked together on several projects, and I couldn’t ask for a better collaborator. Welcome, Bruce! -jeff

Greetings from Chengdu, China!

I’m Bruce Haupt. I used to work for the City of Houston, and now I spend my days learning Mandarin and absorbing Chinese culture. I’m pretty lucky to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Jeff on several projects, and I’m super excited to add another to the list.

On September 18/19, we’re bringing together a group of Chinese open data and urban innovation experts with a group of US open data and civic innovation leaders, just to see what happens next. We’re calling it East West Chats, and if you want to participate, you can join meetups in China or Houston, or you can join in from the comfort of your laptop or smartphone.

This virtual event is designed to bring together people from different cultures with similar interests. We’ve already signed on experts from companies, governments, nonprofits, startups, plus a bunch of interested citizens who want to learn and collaborate with their counterparts across the Pacific Ocean.

So what do we talk about?

We’ll start with the basics of open data in our countries. Based on a few initial conversations with the organizers, it looks like we have a lot of common ground around how open data can support entrepreneurs, as well as social and public sector innovators.

We’ll also have a number of special guests who will highlight some awesome projects from both China and the United States.

Ultimately, we want to see if this event will spark future international collaborations. Our hope is to nurture the relationships formed through this program.

Here’s the scoop:

The first chat is scheduled on the evening of September 18 for the USA (September 19th morning in China). More information and registration for the event (including updates on special guests, agenda, etc) can be found on our website.

About us

The inspiration for the event came from both conversations and collaboration among a small network of Chinese and US citizens interested in open data innovation, along with a general “Why not?” following the recent National Day of Civic Hacking in the U.S.

Our team of volunteer organizers represents cities across China and the United States, from professions including startups, urban planning, management consulting, technology, nonprofit management, international trade and development, academia, and government.

In China, Michelle Li 李雯 of China’s Urban Data Party and Feng Gao 高丰 of Open Data China have been crucial leaders in the effort. Mart Van De Ven and Wai-Chung Bastien of Open Data Hong Kong have also been instrumental in developing the concept.

In the USA, we wouldn’t be anywhere without the leadership of those in Houston such as Matthew Shailer of the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of International Trade & Development (along with people including Kelly Dowe, Andy Icken, and Jesse Bounds). We’ve also received great support early on from organizations like Socrata and Local Data. Naturally… Huge thanks to Jeff Reichman, Open Houston, and January Advisors too!

In addition to the organizing team, we’re also incredibly lucky to have a very diverse group of interesting people and exciting organizations participating and supporting the program. For those in the U.S. especially, I think there’s a lot to learn from the Chinese organizations participating – both in terms of what open data means in China, as well as gaining a better understanding of Chinese culture and innovations more broadly.

Finally, and most importantly, as a team of organizers we all want to do our part to further innovation across the world. Despite the many cultural differences between our nations, we also have a lot in common. We learn more by working together. We hope you’ll join us!

Bruce Haupt