Just to post a recap of the things that have happened during the last year. While it has been awfully quiet around here a lot of things have been going on behind the screens and in other places.
We did most of our data work within Hack de Overheid / Open State where we believe our efforts produced the largest possible impact. During the past two years as part of my program direction, curation, advice and advocacy along with the help of my extremely capable fellows has enabled a series of events and a network to evolve in the Netherlands, the likes of which the world has not yet seen.
A summary would already be too long to post here (just skim the weeknotes to get a glimpse), but to name some highlights: several app competitions, numerous hackathons (the next of which is in Rotterdam) with apps developed in the hundreds and a range of theme networks around certain subjects. We have turned the Netherlands from an open data laggard into a country with one of the most vibrant ecosystems in Europe. Doing this together taught me one of the most important lessons in doing business: people working together can achieve more than they can alone.
To add to that, the foundation we built is going to be even stronger in 2013 which will alleviate my personal involvement in the operational day-to-day and enable me to focus on my own data business again.
On the services part, we have diversified from a pure visualization offering to a set of services that emphasize product development in a big data context as well as taking on teaching to develop data capabilities within organizations.
We focus on Analysis, Creation and Teaching because we have found that a pure focus on visualization is not pertinent to solve significant problems for most organizations. The issues they deal with are far more complex and capable visualizations are only one small part of the solution.
Added to that we found that data literacy at all levels in society from decision makers to journalists and designers to the general public is severely lacking. This creates a challenging environment for those busy in the field of data. Explaining the work they do to the general public is not only in a practitioner’s self-interest, it is also a moral responsibility.
Also we moved our base of operations to the European startup capital Berlin while still maintaining offices in the Netherlands.