Open Data | Create & Activate

Open Government & Open Data are here to stay and are fast becoming the “New Normal” for governments and the MUSH sector. Make sure that you and your staff are up-to-speed on these movements.

An exercise in creativity that introduces the potential of Open Government & Open Data.

The Open Data Iron Chef is modeled like the Iron Chef TV show, but instead of using truffles or shiitake mushrooms, the workshop uses Open Data sets as “inspiration.”

Once an Open Data set is chosen participants form into teams and begin brainstorming a rudimentary concept for a civic application or business idea. At the end of the exercise each team presents their concept to an audience.

Below you will find the framework for the workshop as well as examples of 30-second elevator pitches from former participants.

Past Examples


  • Half Day
  • Full Day
  • Multiple Days & Week



  • Teams must clearly show which Open Data set(s) powers their concept.
  • Money is not a factor, but it must be taken into consideration.
  • Cannot be just a map showing data points, e.g. plotting churches on a map. Teams must present either a service or product.
  • Cannot create a concept that currently exist.


  • Open Data set > Concept.
    • It is always easier to find any interesting Open Data set and come up with a concept then it is to think of a concept then try to find an Open Data set to power it.
  • Features. Features.
    • Do not be a “1-trick-pony.” Add features and layers to your concept. It is important for people to be able to use it in different ways for different reasons.
  • Think Big!
    • Don’t limit your search to your hometown. Look at Open Data sets at the regional, national, and international levels.
  • Add some “Pizzazz” to your pitch.
    • Make it interesting and fun otherwise people are liable to just tune out to your great idea. Think Steve Jobs… his presentationswere essential in the success.

Events geared towards exploring and maturing Open Data sets.

The Open Data Book Club concept is not unlike a regular book club, but instead of having a discussion about about a book, participants spend a month reviewing an Open Data set.

Participants explore and create Open Data sets alongside Open Data Stewards.


  • Each event can be 1 – 3 hours
  • Series can span several months or be a standalone


  • Workshops
  • Discussions


  • Each event can be 1 – 3 hours
  • Series can span several months or be a standalone

Description of Open Data Book Club