Wiki New Zealand: Winning through collaboration
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No country can claim that their people are able to make most of their important decisions in an evidence-based way. There are hundreds of valuable and relevant datasets freely available to us right now but most people don’t use them. Data is spread across hundreds of sites and is held within databases and spreadsheets that require both time and skill to engage with. To use data in decision-making you have to know what specific question to ask, identify a source that has collected the data, and manipulate complex tools to extract and then visualise the information within the dataset.
The barrier to entry is high. It means that when we do see data in digestible, visual forms (i.e. graphs and thematic maps), it is usually because somebody is trying to convince us of a particular point of view. Whilst that is a very legitimate use of data, it is not sufficient for having a well-informed country.
Wiki New Zealand is working to make data truly accessible to all. We are doing that by collaborating throughout New Zealand’s data ecosystem to create a platform that not only brings all the data together in one place, but that makes it visually explorable. Making the data visual lowers the barriers and transaction costs of engagement, and speeds up the process of generating insight.
By bringing data to the people in a usable way we are creating a competitive advantage for New Zealand.
Lillian Grace is Founder & CEO of Wiki New Zealand, a collaborative website making data about New Zealand visually accessible for everyone. Wiki New Zealand is the first of its kind in the world and won at the 2013 Australia and New Zealand Internet Awards. Lillian was previously an associate at consulting firm Stakeholder Strategies and at think tank The New Zealand Institute, and she was Manager of Corporate Projects at Academy Award-winning Massive Software. Lillian speaks regularly on data, innovation and technology including at TEDxAuckland, MindStorm, the Official Stats User Forum, Auckland ICT and the Royal Society of NZ.