Hack it up
Councils may have the data, but they don’t always have the skills to turn data into slick applications that local people can use. Fortunately, creating an open culture where data owners and data re-users and developers can exchange ideas and information may be just the ticket.
The Greater London Authority, Lichfield (http://socialgov.posterous.com/build-your-stuff-with-our-stuff-lichfield-hac) , Warwickshire (http://socialgov.posterous.com/warwickshire-open-data), Bristol (http://socialgov.posterous.com/connecting-bristol) , Sunderland, Brighton and other councils have been working with developers to turn their data into useful applications for citizens and public services alike. Some councils are doing this through contests and events called hack days where the technologically talented come together to make use of public data and turn it into useful stuff. Some councils have sponsored contests offering prizes for the best developments. But beyond the events and the prizes, these are opportunities to start conversations and spark collaboration that leads to more data being published and more useful stuff being done with it.
NESTA is sponsoring the Make It Local programme (http://www.nesta.org.uk/areas_of_work/public_services_lab/make_it_local) encouraging councils to make better use of open data by working with local developer talent to provide innovative ways of presenting and sharing data.