Stupidly expensive head office.
Why does it need to be in London?
The Open Data Institute, an organisation founded by web daddy Sir Tim Berners-Lee and AI prof Sir Nigel Shadbolt, has announced it's setting up 13 "nodes" around the world. The ODI, which is backed with a £10m cash pot provided by taxpayers and based at London's Silicon Roundabout, was created to help businesses use public …
Because London is the only place that matters. The rest of the UK only has one purpose; feed the gaping maw that is London. Be that resources, labour or subsidies; all is belong London.
This is why NOTHING is done to promote moving offices and job to the North (or East or West) because no MP or senior Civil Servant gives two shits about anything beyond their own insulated little world. Too busy living off tax-payers' money and taking freebies from corporate lobbyists.
This is just another £10m subsidy to the fat and corpulent beast that is London.
The ODI have already made proposals that could easily pay for their subsidy in conjunction with MastodonC (http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21567980-how-scrutiny-freely-available-data-might-save-nhs-money-beggar-thy-neighbour).
Being based in the area they are in is important because their remit is to encourage the adoption of open data, by hooking up data holders who want to open stuff up with startups that have the expertise to help them do it - and the richest startup ecosystem we have in this country is in London. The ODI incubate startups in their offices. If they went elsewhere in the UK they simply wouldn't be able to engage as effectively with the people they need. I agree that a lot more should be done to distribute industry around the UK, but it's unfair to criticise an organisation and an investment which is not intended to address that problem for being in London. I believe this is money well spent, and that the ODI is one of several good ways to spend money around technology that have come along recently.
The ODI and many others do make an effort to participate in and build communities elsewhere in the country - there are many meetups that are starting in other areas, for example the Silicon Drinkabout ones run by 3Beards (a startup accelerator) that are now in Manchester as well, but I often hear that these events are poorly attended compared to the ones in London. If you want to do something about that problem, why not start a meetup yourself? Try to build a community that might be appealing for industry, even if it is small startups to begin with. You might find that other startup accelerators take an interest, and you can start to win investment. The money the ODI got from the TSB is open to anyone in the country, the founders of the ODI just happened to be in London - I don't believe there's a systemic resistance to supporting ventures elsewhere, but if you do then why not make a Freedom of Information request and do some analysis? It's efforts from the likes of the ODI that make that possible.
If they went elsewhere in the UK they simply wouldn't be able to engage as effectively with the people they need.
Erm, you have heard of this thing called the Internet (you must have, you are
engaging lecturing us using it) and phones? Also trains! trains! trains! (big in the news at the moment, you might have heard of them too,) if you really absolutely must have a face to face.
There is no need to be in this magical area in London.
In fairness, the guide for reusers was of interest to me as I have no understanding of this sort of thing. As for APIs - from what I can see in the what is open data they encourage XML and so on - there are APIs out there aren't there? From my own quick scheme I think they're trying to get people involved in using and providing free info - isn't that what people here generally want?
ODI global network announced (2013-10-28)
At this time, I should not expect the ODI itself to publish the data of other organisations. See below …
Aims of the Institute
In two paragraphs:
"The Open Data Institute will catalyse the evolution of an open data culture to create economic, environmental, and social value. It will unlock supply, generate demand, create and disseminate knowledge to address local and global issues.
"We will convene world-class experts to collaborate, incubate, nurture and mentor new ideas, and promote innovation. We will enable anyone to learn and engage with open data, and empower our teams to help others through professional coaching and mentoring."
Also, the ODI will "… help organisations who are using data be aware of which data they can and can’t use and to help organisations who want to publish data to make that data sharable, structured, reliable and traceable …"; "… demonstrate, encourage, promote and develop the use of open data by the private sector …" (emphasis added by me).
Both the Open Knowledge Foundation (OKFN) and The World Bank are well-established and reputable, so I should expect good to come from partnerships such as these.
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