My week with the world’s open data leaders

With our current open call for government leaders to join the Open Data Leaders Network, former participant Aleksej Vyskub reflects on his week at the ODI and his new plans to change Ukrainian law and innovate with open data

As told to Hannah Foulds

I knew that a week at the ODI would be interesting – being such a prominent centre of open data knowledge – but I didn’t imagine how much hard work and enthusiasm would be involved, nor quite how many ideas, plans and projects we would share and help shape, between us.

I learnt so many crucial new things with the other leaders. During the week I studied different open data concepts, and whitepapers from leading countries in open data. In my capacity as Deputy Head of the State Agency for e-Governance in Ukraine, I now have a clear understanding of what I want to change in Ukrainian law, and how to finalise our open data roadmap and improve data.gov.ua.

On one of the days I was put in a small group with other open data leaders to identify and overcome common challenges. I was lucky to be placed in a group with representatives from India, Italy and Serbia. Italy’s challenges, I heard, involved agriculture, tourism, fashion and food (lots of tasty Italian food was mentioned); India drew attention to government services and medicine; and Serbia and Ukraine seemed to have a lot of work to do, from raising awareness to increasing transparency.

The leaders collaborated and came up with new ideas for promoting open data, which I’ll now be working to implement in Ukraine. But I intend for our cooperation to continue and develop with a constant exchange of knowledge, ideas and sharing of results.

The inspiration and new energy that this week brought out in me has been very valuable. In spite of having experienced resistance to open data among central authorities in Ukraine – which had greatly undermined my confidence – my week at the Open Data Leaders Network helped me to recharge.

Frankly, I miss the peers I met. Because spending a week among team of leaders is a unique experience – each devoted to the cause of developing open data – and willing to share their perspectives and support each other.