When the President of the Treasury Board of Canada comes to a conference and delivers a serious speech you know that the government takes the subject seriously. And the effort IDRC out into its organization showed it was a high priority for them too. It was a long way to go to speak for 15 minutes, but luckily the listening was perhaps even better than the speaking part. To paraphrase one of Moliere’s characters for more than seven years we had been doing openness without knowing it. It was good to have that understanding reinforced.
IDRC President Jean Lebel pointed out that capturing even a modest share of the potential worth of open data activities would have an enormous impact on developing countries. A study by the McKinsey Global Institute has pegged the additional economic value that open data could generate at more than $3 trillion a year.
IDRC’s focus, Lebel said, is to ensure that the increased efficiency of public services, new capacity for problem solving, and economic stimulus promised by open data does not bypass the developing world’s poor.
“Important data often doesn’t reach the people who really need it,” he said. The goal is for “even the most marginalized communities to have access to vital knowledge and information, and the capacity to understand, use, and share it.