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What's a pragmatic activist to do? Help CHNGE!

What's a pragmatic activist to do? Help CHNGE!

Presented during the Digital-Born Media Carnival 2017, by the SHARE Defense League.

A mnemonic for what I believe is the most e cient behaviour when you’re outside of an organisation you want to convince to be more open. First of all, assess where it is in the openness adoption curve. Then, help them CHNGE:
- Cheer innovators. Congratulate them, put their successes forward.
- Help early adopters. Give them gentle feedback, celebrate their successes, help them turn potential failures into successes and energise the people who go the right way. - Nurture the early majority. Prove to them that opening up means benefits. Participate in their hackathons, provide consultancy if you can.
- Guide the late majority. Apply gentle pressure if needed to get started (and whenever needed), but make sure you truly understand their constraints. Demonstrate the
di erence between beliefs and actual issues, and o er solutions for the latter.
- Enforce regulation on laggards. Don’t discuss openness on ethical grounds. Accept that you will not be able to convince such actors up front, no matter how well you explain. They might change their minds after the fact, but you will be most effective by focusing on having power on your side, and then using it.

Matti Schneider

July 16, 2017
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Transcript

  1. For more open-*
    …data
    …source
    …algorithms
    …government
    What’s a pragmatic activist to do?
    This presentation is about telling you what I’ve learned.
    It is about helping people inside and outside government (or any other large and bureaucratic organisation, be it public or private) work together towards more openness.

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  2. 1
    Matti Schneider
    @matti_sg / @matti_sg_fr
    Activist & hacktivist. I crossed the border and joined government three years ago. I’ve been working for the French Prime Minister task force for open data and state
    modernisation.

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  3. I will use the innovation adoption curve by Everett Rogers to explain which strategy is the most adequate for each kind of actor that you’ll be targeting.
    Indeed, the first point is to understand that big organisations are not monoliths, even though they look like it from a distance.
    “The state” doesn’t exist. It is made of a large number of organisations, institutions, rules, and most of all people. These people and groups have their own culture, drivers and
    constraints.

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  4. The first group: innovators. These people are actually working towards openness without any pressure nor support. The good news is: you don’t need to address them
    specifically. They will keep moving forward whatever it takes.

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  5. The early adopters are people who are convinced that opening up is good, but assess the cost as higher than what they can do alone in their present context. You need to
    provide them with tools and support, and they will work it out.

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  6. In our context, providing an open data portal is already a good support, as it removes technical barriers and offers proof that “others are doing it”, which helps early adopters
    convince their organisation and hierarchy.

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  7. What you can do from the outside is to support and help the efforts of those people!
    If the first reuse that you publish of the first published dataset from an organisation aims at criticising it, you are making sure it will not open more. Indeed, you just equipped
    the more conservative people within the organisation with the proof that opening up means taking direct hits to the stomach.
    I’m not saying you should never use data to criticise. But you need to take into account the maturity level of the organisation that just opened it. Early adopters can work on their
    own, but they need positive reinforcement to keep their momentum. Wait until the movement is more established before being more critical (and even then, prefer being gentle
    than aggressive, even if it might mean less clickbait).

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  8. Now, the early majority. These people don’t immediately understand the benefits of openness, but are willing to listen and can be convinced.

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  9. Startups
    State
    A team
    interdisciplinary
    autonomous
    2–4 people
    A mission
    one friction
    6 months
    < 200k€
    What’s a “State Startup”, beyond “an oxymoron”? No capital investment, no separate juridical entity: it’s a match between a team and a mission. The very first State Startup was the new French
    OpenData portal data.gouv.fr I showed earlier, in June 2013. There are now over 30.
    Such initiatives help new actors understand the benefits by first providing them with a service.

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  10. labonneboite.pole-emploi.fr
    For example, this State Startup created with the national employment agency helps candidates target companies that have a high probability of hiring rather than simply listing
    open job offers.
    Only after the service convinced the agency did we start advising openness. And we achieved it thanks to external help.

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  11. The recommendation algorithms are now open, and are used by an NGO. This reuse was the main argument for opening up: rather than convincing on ethical grounds, the
    agency was convinced on practical grounds of a greater ability to accomplish its mission of decreasing unemployment.
    From the outside, you can support openness by showing that you will help reaching shared goals, rather than trying to replace the organisation by bringing a better service (even
    if that’s what you believe).

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  12. Late majority actors are the ones who are opposed to openness, for good or bad reasons. You will need to guide and sometimes pressure them.

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  13. adresse.data.gouv.fr
    Three years ago, in France, there was no consolidated address database. Google Maps was more accurate than public databases.

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  14. adresse.data.gouv.fr
    One dataset,
    two licenses
    This situation persisted because different databases existed, with different update frequencies and data sources. We were able to bring the two major providers, the National
    Geographical Institute and the Post Office, to merge their databases. Not only that, but we also managed to merge it with OpenStreetMap and open it publicly.
    In this specific case, one has to build empathy with the different actors. For example, the national geographical institute had had its budget harshly cut years ago, being told its
    data had value and it had to learn to sell it. After years of adaptation, once it finally has learned to do that, it is being told all of the data should be opened. Obviously people
    inside have a hard time changing their mind once again!
    This explains why such coproductions between state actors and civil society are unusual.

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  15. adresse.data.gouv.fr
    ODbL
    (copyleft)
    Commercial
    (private)
    One dataset,
    two licenses
    We were able to solve this specific issue with a double licensing scheme. If you’re a private organisation creating value over an address database, that’s most probably because
    you’re building upon the geographical data. A simple catalog wouldn’t bring much money. Thus, a copyleft clause that forces you to open any database you combine with the
    addresses is unacceptable. In such a case, you would have to buy a commercial license, thus funding the providers.
    If you’re an NGO or an individual, then you’re fine with the OpenDatabase License (and will open up even more data thanks to the copyleft clause).

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  16. Finally, laggards are actors that will never open up by themselves, no matter how much support and effort you bring in.

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  17. In this case, you need law (or some other hierarchical power) on your side. Nothing else will make such actors move.
    If you’re on the outside, don’t even waste your energy applying pressure to such actors, unless law is on your side, in which case courts will settle the issue.

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  18. Cheer
    Help
    Nurture
    Guide
    Enforce
    What’s a pragmatic activist to do?
    To wrap up, here is a mnemonic for what I believe is the most efficient behaviour when you’re outside of an organisation you want to convince to be more open. First of all,
    assess where it is in the openness adoption curve. Then, help them CHNGE:
    - Cheer innovators. Congratulate them, put their successes forward.
    - Help early adopters. Give them gentle feedback, celebrate their successes, help them turn potential failures into successes and energise the people who go the right way.
    - Nurture the early majority. Prove to them that opening up means benefits. Participate in their hackathons, provide consultancy if you can.
    - Guide the late majority. Apply gentle pressure if needed to get started (and whenever needed), but make sure you truly understand their constraints. Demonstrate the
    difference between beliefs and actual issues, and offer solutions for the latter.
    - Enforce regulation on laggards. Don’t discuss openness on ethical grounds. Accept that you will not be able to convince such actors up front, no matter how well you explain. They might
    change their minds after the fact, but you will be most effective by focusing on having power on your side, and then using it.

    View full-size slide

  19. Cheer Help Nurture Guide Enforce
    What’s a pragmatic activist to do?
    Matti Schneider
    @matti_sg / @matti_sg_fr
    Thanks! Хвала!

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