That’s a depressing idea, isn’t it? You go through all the trouble of arranging a special event – making the food, buying the drinks, renting extra tables and chairs, and booking a great band … but then absolutely no one shows up.

This is a sad scenario governments would like to avoid, especially when it comes to their Open Data initiatives. The hope is that after the Open Data deployment strategy (one that focuses on cultural and governance aspects as much as on technical issues) is developed and the Open Data master plan has been made and maintained, everyone will show up on time. Right? Wrong!

There is a very simple explanation for this.

To get people excited about your party, you have to promote the event, send out invitations, and make some calls. And it’s essential to pick a good theme that gets people interested and willing to engage in the party.

The same goes for Open Data engagement. Governments have to encourage and inspire universities, researchers, industry, and even the public to discover Open Data. These stakeholders have to see its benefits and the economic value it can bring them.

To attract interest and attention, governments should actively engage and collaborate with universities and leading-edge companies. They should take the lead, showcasing the current and future potential of Open Data.

To build confidence in Open Data, governments themselves need to be a trustworthy partner. This type of partner will commit to the quality and consistency of each single data set and even operate with users under a business SLA – an agreement that states its data sets will be accurate when published and continuously updated over time.

Before investing in creating new apps and services, bear in mind that companies will want and need to know everything about Open Data. Only then – when apps and services based on Open Data are launched – that well-planned party will be a great success!