Open Knowledge Foundation

Fostering transparency and innovation through open data and open-source technical infrastructure.

This case study is the product of interviews with Jo Barratt (Delivery Manager, OKF).

Context

The Open Knowledge Foundation (OKF) is a non-profit working towards a fair, free and open future. Datopian was spun out of OKF and the two organizations collaborate together on global client projects across the private, public and third sectors. OKF is still a minority shareholder of Datopian.

What brought us together?

Datopian and OKF share many of the same values. We are both committed to fostering transparency and innovation through open data and open-source technical infrastructure. Each organization has a particular area of expertise: Datopian on technical strategy and implementation, and OKF on the legal and social aspects of open data. With complementary specializations, the two organizations are able to provide clients with unparalleled, all-rounded expertise spanning the legal, social and technical aspects of publishing data openly. 

Our key achievement to date

The Datopian-OKF partnership has been invaluable for the development of the open-source data portal software CKAN, of which OKF are the custodians and Datopian the co-stewards. By encouraging the adoption of CKAN worldwide, OKF and Datopian have rapidly expanded the software’s user base and thereby significantly increased its rate of expansion. This speaks to one of the beauties of CKAN’s open-source nature: the more clients that use CKAN, the more targeted to concrete, genuine use cases it becomes. It is thanks to the contributions of our clients that CKAN has evolved to become the most effective open-source data management solutions on the global market.

Our partnership’s USP

It is not often that an NGO collaborates so closely with a commercial company. Having a trusted, value-aligned partner from the private sector is invaluable for OKF, who rely on grant-funding (as well as a small amount of commercial income) to run many of their more community or impact-focussed projects. In 2020, Datopian was proud to sponsor 10 open data events worldwide as part of Open Data Day, which is a community event coordinated by OKF(you can read about the outcomes here). Having Datopian as a trusted partner has also meant more commercial investment for numerous other projects, such as Frictionless Data, which relies on contributions to grow its codebase.

Our cross-sector collaboration has also been of immense value for Datopian. Often, OKF has enabled us to go above and beyond when providing services to clients by delivering world-class government data training. Paul, Datopian CEO, speaks fondly of a joint venture in Honduras, during which Datopian and OKF executed a hugely successful client project, with OKF’s specialized Spanish-language technical and licencing training complementing Datopian’s technical delivery.