How France’s Open Data Team Is Modernizing The French Government
A small team of 10 people called Etalab recently released a brand new version of Data.gouv.fr, France’s open data platform. Etalab essentially acted like a startup within the French government, utilizing its open data initiative to surreptitiously modernize the state itself.
As a reminder, open data is the idea that certain information should be freely available to everyone to reuse as they wish, without any copyright restriction. The term “open data” itself became widely used after a few successful government-owned platforms, such as Data.gov and Data.gov.uk.
“The open data movement shows the modernity of the state,” Etalab director Henri Verdier told me in an interview. Verdier became Etalab’s director in January 2013. Before that, he was co-founder of the Cap Digital business cluster. He also founded MFG Labs and is the co-author of a book about platform strategies with Nicolas Colin, L’âge de la multitude.
“It’s a good idea to nominate an entrepreneur to head this mission — it’s a small team with very practical goals,” he said. Only four people among the team of 10 worked on the new platform.
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