Liveblog: Responsible Data Forum

/ March 6, 2014



The first Responsible Data Forum is about to kick off! The room is filling up with participants, spirits are high and brains are firing up. The room is composed of a large and diverse group of people interested in defining the perils and pitfalls, best practices and collaborations around responsibility in data collection from many different perspectives: online data management platforms, evidence collection for legal procedures, open data in development, citizen reporting, geomapping, secure data hosting and many more.



In true Gunner fashion small groups produced a massive amount of post-its representing the questions they have about responsible data and what it means to them. Big bucket topics like: education and data literacy, securely managing data at rest, developing standards for data and data management supporting policy development for organizations, developing responsible workflows for data management, and tackling ethics around data. We are talking about pain points, outcomes and resources that don’t exist, but should exist. In the next session we’ll be hacking out lists of resources and assets that we want to work on building in the afternoon.




In this session, participants grouped around specific interest areas like disaster response, infrastructure, education and open data, to brainstorm shopping lists of resources whose existence would benefit the overall approach towards responsibility.

The groups produced an impressive amount of ideas and proposals, which we’ll be looking at in-depth during the afternoon building session.


In the spirit of producing useful things, we’re breaking into groups in the afternoon to hammer out resources that address the following domain areas:

  • Disaster response
  • Supporters and the administrative side of organizations (donors, members etc)
  • Infrastructure (platform providers)
  • Data collection that involves vulnerable groups
  • Education of to spark more responsible behavior (by public, end users, orgs, donors, etc)
  • Open data (threats, risks, and potential problems
  • Government responsibility
  • Corporations’ responsibility
  • Makers – cool and helpful tools for users and the general public

The afternoon saw two back-to-back building sessions, with the total combined result of 16 – yes, sixteen – concrete, practical project ideas and tool concepts that promote responsible data. We saw the birth of  a risk management game, an ethics primer on open data for public institutions, the “do no harm” checklist, and many more.

We are honored and humbled by the creative forces of the participants, who made the whole day possible. As Gunner best put it, they represent the vanguard of the responsible data movement, and we can’t wait to see what happens next!


About the contributor

Tom started out writing and editing for newspapers, consultancies and think tanks on topics including politics and corruption in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, then moved into designing and managing election-related projects in countries including Myanmar, Bangladesh, Rwanda and Bolivia. After getting interested in what data and technology could add in those areas and elsewhere, he made a beeline for The Engine Room. Tom is trying to read all of the Internet, but mostly spends his time picking out useful resources and trends for organisations using technology in their work.

See Tom's Articles

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