[Okfn-se] nordic + baltic okfn cooperation

miska knapek miska at knapek.org
Tue Jan 14 09:18:24 UTC 2014

Hello everyone,

Sorry about posting this in English - I'm posting this on the Nordic+Baltic
OKFN mailling lists, and am trying to do a bit of 'recycling' ;)

In ultra short:

- What do you think about more grassroots Nordic+Baltic cooperation in the
OKFN-like spheres?
   We could do a lot to help one another and use historic Nordic+Baltic
cooperation to our advantages.
- A Nordic+Baltic School of Data?
- Let's meet : the Norwegian Open Data Day could be one place to meet and
chat about this
( february 22nd
http://blog.okfn.org/2013/12/12/planning-your-open-data-day-2014/ )
- Make yourselves heard!

In a bit more text:

This could be a very good time to start Nordic+Baltic open data / okfn
I'm asking for opinions, suggestions, criticisms, and help trying to
realise this. Please make yourselves heard.
The Nordic countries have historically done a lot of cooperation, and have
had a supportive attitude for government transparency - much the the dismay
of some EU partners :) - and democratic processes. I'm afraid my historical
knowledge fails me, but I seem to remember there being good cooperation
between the Nordic+Baltic countries historically too.

I propose that the OKFN enthusiasts in the Nordic+Baltic countries
investigate how they can cooperate - perhaps having similar working groups
and run a joint Nordic+Baltic School of Data - to support one another and
perhaps investigate how international open data initiatives might be look
like and be realised.

Norway is holding an arrangement for the international open data day, where
OKFN international visits, to help get an OKFN community in Norway going.
This could be a good place for some of the Nordic+Baltic okfn supporters to
gather and chat.
( If not then, and not some common skype sessions, then some sort of
Nordic+Baltic meetup at the Open Knowledge Festival in July, could be an
option ).

And the longer version:

I have a tentative proposal, to get the ball rolling, something that's
meant as an appetizer more than a concrete and finished plan.
Admittedly, I'm perhaps not the best to make these plans concretely, and
so, also keeping with the 'open spirit', I'm opening the floor for others
Please make yourselves heard. Let your thoughts on the matters be heard -
suggestions, criticisms, initiatives, etc... are entirely welcome.
(I might be doing this all wrong - please point out this too :)

I'm part of the OKFN scene in Finland, and have been involved with some
international open data work lately, involving the Nordic countries.
I've noticed that the OKFN scenes in the Scandinavian and Baltic countries
are at somewhat early stages, eager to grow and become more active.
This is might well be the right moment to build some collaboration between
the countries.

On reason to do this in the Nordic+Baltic regions is the historic
cooperation between the countries, and similar attitudes to government
transparency and democratic access to education - i.e. themes very much
overlapping with open knowledge culture.  These historical taditions could
be seen as good fertile soil for growing some new forms of open
data/knowledge cultures. Maybe I'm idealistic, but perhaps something could
be started in the Nordic+Baltic regions, that would be harder to get off
the ground elsewhere. It's very much worth thinking about.


Common working groups
In Finland** we've, since about a year, set up a series of working groups,
covering topics like open science, open cultural data, open democracy, open
sustainability, midata, etc… http://fi.okfn.org/wg ( all the work is
documented on open online platforms btw ).
To get things going in the other Nordic+Baltic countries, one idea could be
to set up similar working groups - or yet others that don't exist in
Finland, but should - amongst the Nordic+Baltic countries. This way there'd
be a larger crowd looking at these issues, the groups could inspire, share
experience, and work on international initiatives together.

** -  While I'm still a bit Nordic enough - I've grown up in and lived in
three Nordic countries - to be modest and hasten to add that this is
nothing special, I'll add that there's been a fair bit of activity in
Finland, that the other Nordic+Baltic countries. The knowledge gleaned from
getting Finland off the ground - very much something that's thanks to the
hard work of a lot of volunteers, as well as government openness+support -
could possibly be used to provide some advice to the other countries in the

Nordic+Baltic School of Data
A different initiative that's worth considering is a Nordic+Baltic School
of Data. ( Modelled partly on the OKFN's School of Data - but perhaps with
in a more commonly accessible form ( OKFN's School of Data is perhaps aimed
a touch much towards specialists )).
If open digital media and information networks are the "new literacy", we
need for data literacy to be more commonplace and publically acessible than
it is now.
Openly accessible classes in data literacy would be going on the right

Doing a touring Nordic+Baltic School of Data could, besides educate people,
also be a platform for building networks between the Nordic and Baltic
That is, importantly, the Nordic+Baltic School of Data teachers would be
comprised of mixed group of people from the Nordic+Baltic countries,
teaching together. This would further contact between the countries, and
could also give School of Data participants insights into how open
knowledge is handles in the other countries, how to get hold of
international open data, as well as open the door to doing international

Common hackathons and projects
Well, hopefully the title is a bit self-explanatory. Let's do them :)

Let's meet!
It would be really great should it be possible for organisers and activists
in the Nordic+Baltic region to meet sometime - or failing that, to
communicate/coordinate somehow.

One possibility to meet is the Open Data Day the Norwegians are arranging (
22 nd February )
( http://blog.okfn.org/2013/12/12/planning-your-open-data-day-2014/ )
It could be a good time+place to meet in many ways - the  Norwegians are
trying to get their OKFN communities going and are holding some initiatives
for this to happen, including bringing in some OKFN International people to
help inspire and guide things.

The next meetup could otherwise be the Open Knowledge Festival  (
okfestival.org ) in Berlin, July.
I could try propose some sort of Nordic+Baltic coordination session there.

And besides that, it would be great should some common communication
between Nordic+Baltic countries be possible.
I can help coordinate that, as interest arises.

Ok - sorry about the long text.
Let's see what we can do.
There's a lot of opportunity out there, in the Nordic+Baltic sphere.
Do make yourselves heard.

All the best,


miska michael knapek - your local illusionist (designer)
mob. +358-50-320-2616
web: http://knapek.org
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code/github: https://github.com/miskaknapek
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