Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Open Government Tour 2014

THIS IS NOW AN ARCHIVE PAGE (I'M KEEPING IT FOR POSTERITY AS TO HOW MUCH THE TOUR CHANGED SINCE INCEPTION). FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE OPEN GOVERNMENT TOUR, PLEASE CLICK HERE

On July 2nd, 2014, I will take off on a Cross-Canada motorcycle tour in an attempt to bring attention to the Open Government & Open Data movements.


This post will acts as a kind of "homebase" (along with the Make Web Not War site, which will be talked about later) of information as the Tour develops. If you have any questions, or would like to be involved in any of the POINTS OF ENGAGEMENT, I can be reached here: @richardpietro & richard@citizenbridge.org.


Who?
The trip is being primarily organized by me, Make Web Not War and its community (e.g. People & Code), Gov 2.0 Radio, and a veritable bevy of friends who want this Tour to succeed :-)

Before I go any further, I feel it is important to speak about the relationship that exists between me and Make Web Not War (which is Microsoft's foray into Open Source)...more specifically, my relationship with Bruce Chau and Keith Loo who work for MWNW.

In order to better understand this relationship I first need to speak about Seth Godin. Those familiar with his book Linchpin will appreciate his views on Art and Artists which are summed up in this simple quote:
"Art isn't only a painting. Art is anything that's creative, passionate, and personal. And great art resonates with the viewer, not only with the creator."
Traditionally speaking, the "Patron" was the individual who enabled the Artist to create their art.

For the Open Government Tour, I view Bruce Chau and Keith Loo as my Patrons while I consider myself the Artist. The "Art" in question is the spirit of collaboration, transparency, and accountability being spread through the Open Government & Open Data movements. Both Bruce and Keith, through Make Web Not War, understand that spirit and understand I will not compromise my values. They are allowing me to play within my parametres instead of telling me to play within theirs.

...it is a beautiful type of relationship, and I hope one that spreads.

Logistically speaking, they gave me $12,000 (plus HST) to cover my expenses while on the road, plus a little more to cover some incidentals...you know, just in case. The Open Government Tour expenses are outlined below:
1) Gas - $2100
2) Digby & Wood Island Ferries - $110
3) Motorcycle payments - $900
4) Line of credit payments - $1500
5) Bike Maintenance
--Oil changes - $225
--2 sets of tires - $1000
--Brake maintenance - $500
--Emergency - $500
------(total bike maintenance - $2225)
6) Incidentals - $500
7) Emergency lodging - $500
8) Internet & Cell - $650
9) Food - $1500
TOTAL: $9985

Another important relationship is the one that exists between me and the fine folks at Gov 2.0 Radio. This is a new development which is adding so much more International legitimacy to the Tour. In addition, their expertise in podcasting/media is welcomed because lord knows I don't know what the heck I'm doing on that front lol.

What makes this particularly awesome is that Gov 2.0 Radio is also pivoting their mandate a little. Typically, they've been viewed as a source of information for the hardcore Open Gov/Data community but have chosen to focus more on education and bringing new voices to the Open Gov/Data conversation.

Another group of people who will help with this tour are what I call "City Champion." They are those individuals in a city who can help me logistically with the event. Someone who can source a venue and help spread the word. POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: City Champion can be anyone...government, corporate, school, or just a person who is passionate about Open Government & Open Data. So, if you think you'd like to be a City Champion (see list below) then please contact me.

What?
I'm designing the Open Government Tour like a Concert Tour and plan on visiting atleast 17 Canadian Cities in approximately 90 days. In those cities, I will be hosting an evening where engaged citizens, public servants, students, and corporate representatives will be invited to participate in a conversation about how they can improve their community through the Open Gov/Data movements.

The evening itself will not just be boring a Powerpoint while I prattle on about the magic of Open Gov/Data. It will be an engaging and interactive evening where people will learn, discuss, connect, share, hangout, and most importantly...imagine and build.

Elements that I'm considering for the evening include: Music, theatre, roundtable conversations, international guests, improv, and experimentation. Its purpose? To test our assumptions about our society; foster budding relationships; and discover new perspectives.

I'm also working with Craig Carter-Edwards on how to document the event, either through a formal feature length OR a crowdsourced documentary...I'm leaning more towards a crowdsourced documentary simply because I believe its potential outweigh any other option.

Here's how it would work: The tour would generate its own Open Data Set...but, not CSV, JSON, or GIS files. POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: Instead, it would produce Raw Video/Audio files that would allow ANYONE to create their own documentary, movie, tv show, web-series, or mashup. There are a number of logistical issues to take into consideration, primarily cataloguing the files and the uploading of raw files (bandwidth issues).

Where & When?
The Tour will include 17 pre-organized events in 17 Canadian cities - each of which will be free to attend:

July 2 - Toronto (Tour Launch)
---City Champion:  Richard Pietro
---Couch:  Confirmed (name not published)
July 3 - Kingston
---City Champion: Event didn't take place
---Couch:
July 7 - Montreal
---City Champion:  Alex Mochnacki
---Couch:  Confirmed (name not published)
July 14 - Halifax
---City Champion:  Jamie Newman
---Couch:  Confirmed (name not published)
July 17 - Sydney
---City Champion: Event didn't take place
---Couch:
July 22 - Charlottetown
---City Champion:  Jodi LeBlanc
---Couch:  Jodi LeBlanc
July 23 - Moncton
---City Champion:  Nick Scott
---Couch: Confirmed (name not published)
July 28 - Quebec City
---City Champion:  Jean-Francois Gauthier
---Couch:  Jean-Francois Gauthier
August 5 - Timmins
---City Champion:  Still searching
---Couch:  John & Catherine Heaslip
August 11 - Winnipeg
---City Champion:  Kyle Geske
---Couch:  Confirmed (name not published)
August 12 - Regina
---City Champion:  Still searching
---Couch:  Still searching
August 25 - Victoria
---City Champion:  Mike Sinclair
---Couch:  Still searching
August 26 - Vancouver
---City Champion:  Drew Rifkin
---Couch:  Confirmed (name not published)
September 2 - Calgary
---City Champion:  Geoff Zakaib
---Couch:  Geoff Zakaib
September 3 - Edmonton
---City Champion:  Chris Kershaw
---Couch:  Confirmed (name not published)
September 4 - Saskatoon
---City Champion:  Still searching
---Couch:  Still searching
September 11 - Sudbury
---City Champion:  Still searching
---Couch:  Still searching
September 16 - Ottawa
---City Champion:  Jacques Mailloux
---Couch:  Laura Wesley

HOWEVER, I will be riding through a number of cities along the way, e.g. Sherbrooke, Fredericton, Thunder Bay, Lethbridge, etc., and would love nothing more than the opportunity to bring the Open Government Tour to local groups, schools, or organizations as I'm passing through.

Thing is, I won't be able to actively find those groups. POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: That's why I kindly ask that if you're interested in having the Open Government Tour participate with your group, then please look over my full schedule and let me know if there are any opportunities on your side of things :-)

Why?
I like to say that the days of Civic Engagement being this "thing" that happens in dry & dusty church basement where people listen to malcontents drone on about wading pools are quickly disappearing. Civic Engagement is also so much more than just voting once every four years.

...the World of Civic Engagement is changing and it needs a healthy dose of marketing to usher in the era of Open Government & Open Data.

Since I love riding motorcycles and since I'm passionate about Open Gov/Data...why not bring them together? I've been meaning to go on a Cross-Canada motorcycle trip for many years now and I think the two go very well together. As Craig Carter-Edwards wrote: Open Government on the Open Road

How?
Ray Kao from People & Code (a member of the Make Web Not War community) is building an online engagement platform around Open Government & Open Data. It will be a place where people from across the country (and the World) can take part in conversations about Civic Engagement.

...you know, comparing notes, learning best practices, sharing perspectives, and most importantly: making connections.

It will also be a place where ANY Open Gov/Data event can be published. POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: That way, the engagement platform also has the potential to act as a kind of coordination tool for Open Gov/Data organizers in addition to being a point of entry for those individuals who don't know where to start.

Also, I plan on doing a lot of camping while on the trip, but I also recognize that I will occasionally need a hot shower and a soft bed ;-). POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: That's why I will rely on the kindness of strangers to allow me to couch-surf, particularly in those cities where events will be held.  If you would like to host me, then you know what to do!

POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: Trips of this scale are better enjoyed with others, so please let me know if you if you'd like to join me for ride across Canada, or parts of the ride! I'd love nothing than having someone else with me on the road :-) From that viewpoint, Craig Carter-Edwards (mentioned earlier) once referred to me as Canada's Forest Gump...which I find completely hilarious lol.

But I will admit there are a number similarities and certainly hope that others join me in the Tour.

I also hope to continue my work as a waiter whenever opportunities present themselves.  It's a job that I truly enjoy. It is also a rather unique way to talk to new people about Open Government & Open Data. I kid you not. I can't tell you how many times I've served Quarter Chicken Dinners to a table and eventually began talking about Open Gov/Data. POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: I will gladly work for any restaurateur during the tour at no hourly wage! Please contact me if you'd like to take part in the Open Government Tour in this particular way. 

List of Points of Engagement
POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: City Champions can be anyone...government, corporate, school, or just a person who is passionate about Open Government & Open Data. So, if you think you'd like to be a City Champion (see list below) then please contact me.

POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: Instead, it would be Raw Video/Audio files that would allow ANYONE to put together their own movie, tv show, web-series, or mashup of their choice.

POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: That's why I kindly ask that if you're interested in having the Open Government Tour participate with your group, then please look over my full schedule and let me know if there are any opportunities on your side of things :-)

POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: That way, the engagement platform also has the potential to act as a kind of coordination tool for Open Gov/Data organizers in addition to being a point of entry for those individuals who don't know where to start.

POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: That's why I will rely on the kindness of strangers to allow me to couch-surf, particularly in those cities where events will be held. If you would like to host me, then you know what to do ;-)

POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: Trips of this scale are better enjoyed with others, so please let me know if you if you'd like to join me for ride across Canada, or parts of the ride! I'd love nothing than having someone else with me on the road :-)

POINT OF ENGAGEMENT: I will gladly work for any restaurateur during the tour at no hourly wage! Please contact me if you'd like to take part in the Open Government Tour in this particular way.