Can Open Data Create More Jobs?

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom believes data is the key to unlocking new jobs in the Golden State.

Open data is part of the new breed of local governments. It’s a sign of transparency and the desire to offer better services to citizens. It could also be a catalyst for job growth. In an interview with California Forward, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stressed that data is a driver of job creation:

What state and local data can be freed and/or leveraged to promote job creation in our state?

It’s publicly financed data that should be made available to everyone, accessed as a platform. And you do that, the opportunities to create jobs are endless. The last estimates were in the multimillions of jobs created just by taking satellite data and making them available. That was done in the eighties. Millions and millions of jobs, literally millions, just because of that one data set being mined consistently, every nanosecond, over and over and made available to anyone. Imagine what exists in government to do the same.

Newsom also emphasized the importance of thinking like a startup. His attitude is likely the result of the time he spent as mayor of San Francisco, surrounded by some of the most innovative businesses in the world. Taking lessons from successful businesses, he said, is key to pushing government into the digital era:

What can Sacramento learn from the culture and thinking of San Francisco on open data and governing?

You’ve got to have an entrepreneurial, bottom-up mindset of governing. And you can’t be captured by the standard operating procedure and the way things have been done. It’s got to be an iterative model. . . . The most successful businesses in the world all have one thing in common: They’ve failed more often than their competitors, but in a protected environment where they learn from their mistakes . . . and move forward with the benefit of that knowledge.

Watch the entire video below, and visit California Forward for more information.

Jun 20 2013