All this thinking of future visions has led me to investigate new directions. Through an open data workshop I connected to the recently launched Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN.ch) to discuss overlapping interests, such as - quoting their multilingual Discussion Paper - contributing to projects with global impact (“Switzerland has many years of internationally recognised experience in transnational research partnerships with countries in the global South and so is ideally placed for such capacity building.”), bridging diverse communities (“politicians, authorities and civil society must be willing to enter into a continuous dialogue with the scientific community and seek evidence-based decisions.”), or narrowing the data divide (“the processing of complex issues on sustainable development is made more difficult by the frequent lack of complete, current or high-resolution data.”).
Graph from Targeting the SDGs at a national level by Lou Del Bello
At our meeting we talked about the history of Open Knowledge and the now dormant Open Sustainability Working Group, its mission today pursued by Local Groups - 2030 Watch in Germany, to give just one example - and in international projects like OD4D, OpenSpending and Frictionless Data.
In Switzerland, we run regular national hackdays - our next one due to revisit the theme of our 2015 event in the fall - support sustainable development hackathons and climathons, promote open datasets in the programs of nearby institutions, and invite keynotes and workshops discussing data sustainability at our conferences, something I would encourage again this July.
Future challenges at our Hackdays could be directly aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to measure our collective impact, get involved in tracking the 232 SDG indicators by helping to produce and publish open data, and work with organizations like SDSN to make sure that our events and platforms can become better gateways for people aspiring to do the world some good with data.
We can follow @SDSNCH, learn why open data in this context matters, check out projects like the UNESCO Statistics portal and indicators.report to collect SDG data, hear from the fans and hear out the critics too - and keep the bigger picture in mind during the testing times ahead.
Not all random hacks are evenly divided.