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The Unbearable Lightness of Openness

Gartner - Over the last ten years I have come across countless consultants and advisors to government and the broader public sector who have been asserting the unquestionable benefits of anything preceded by the term “open”. Open standards, open source, open data, open government, open innovation, and so forth. Those who are younger in the business may not remember, but often the very same individuals who got some notoriety around – say – promoting open source in government, can now be found among the supporters of open data.

As an analyst I always have to keep at a distance from innovations,.products, services, vendors and in general anything that gets particularly hyped. The reason why clients subscribe to services provided by Gartner and other IT analyst firms is to have an unbiased view about technologies and technology-intensive innovations, in order to adopt them where and when they are a clear fir for their strategic priorities. Of course we can have personal preferences, and like some technologies more than others, but this cannot and does not influence the way we operate.

Now, I happen to like everything “open” quite a lot. Especially when associated to government, which is owned by the people, the idea of sharing code, data, ideas, like the best thing to do. On the other hand, when it comes to spending public money, it is absolutely essential to make sure it is being spent wisely.