Open Data – Broad, Deep, Connected


The world’s leading open data and open knowledge event, OKCon is the latest in an annual series run since 2005. Last year’s installment in Helsinki had more than 1000 participants from over 50 countries and was the largest event of its kind to date. Previous speakers have included inventor of the World Wide Web Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Hans Rosling of Gapminder, Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive, Ellen Miller of the Sunlight Foundation and other major figures in the open knowledge community.


Located in Geneva, a major site for the United Nations and many other international institutions, this year’s event will focus on coordinating and strengthening public policy around the world to support a truly global and interconnected ecosystem of open data.


In the last few years we’ve seen government open data initiatives grow from a handful to hundreds, and we’ve seen open data become important in areas such as research, culture and international development. This event will explore how open data is not only expanding geographically but also touching new sectors and new areas. How should governments and international institutions such as the UN react to these changes? How should business take advantage of new opportunities and contribute to the open data economy? How do citizens and civil society organizations turn data into accountability and into change?


This year’s OKCon will focus on the following questions:

How do we broaden open data – not only geographically across countries and regions, but also across domains and institutions? For example, whilst open data is now firmly on the agenda for government, in business its potential is only just starting to be explored. Similarly, though “open” is prominent in some areas of research, such as genomics, in others it is still barely known.

How do we deepen open data – ensuring a commitment not only for today but for the long term, and ensuring that open data is fully embedded into processes and policies? For example, though many governments have now signed up to the Open Government Partnership and announced open government data initiatives, in many cases the amount of data actually released remains limited.

How do we ensure the open data ecosystem is connected? Much of the value of open data will be lost if open data ends up locked into isolated silos – whether these are legal, technical or social. In today’s globalized world it makes no sense if open data ‘stops at the border’: we need data that extends across countries and institutions, and is easy to interconnect thanks to common standards and interoperable infrastructure.


The event is jointly organized by the Open Knowledge Foundation, Open Knowledge Foundation Switzerland with the support of the Swiss Federal Councillor Alain Berset and with Lift Events as the production partner.