Data, even boring data has stories to tell. I'm passionate about showing people how to find them and, in the process, learn more about our society. My professional career includes working for the 'data dark side', where I wrote algorithms that slurped information from the web for marketing purposes. The usual not-sure-I-want-to-tell-my-mother sort of stuff.
I realised a few years ago that my skills can be used more meaningfully. My first exposure to this space was using information to reduce information asymmetries in the pharmaceutical marketplace in southern Africa. The major highlight was letting pharmaceutical companies know that country procurement offices know what the market price of medicines was. The resultant savings confirmed the importance of real intelligence in decision-making. In this case, ensuring that countries' pharmaceutical budgets stretched further to buy more medicines.
As an organisation, I believe that OpenUp is testing boundaries. We are pioneers in this space in South Africa. While we follow in the footsteps of other civic tech organisations internationally, every country has its nuances, difficulties and challenges. We're feeling our way around, and hopefully challenging boundaries and walking the road less travelled.