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Moldova Open Innovation Week 2012


View a blog post reviewing the hackathon here »


The main objective of the Moldova Open Innovation Week, held May 14-20, 2012, was to implement and pilot a number of high-profile events intended to build upon the Government’s recent approval of the National Action Plan on Open Government and the launch of in 2011.   The country’s commitment to the global Open Government Partnership has been led by the e-Government Center with the support of the World Bank and other development partners. The Action Plan is just the start of a process, and Moldova’s progress will be reviewed and compared to the more than 50 other countries already in the Partnership.  The World Bank, the e-Government Center, and other partners facilitated the implementation of the program of events to support key local stakeholders and contribute international expertise to help build the different aspects of an ecosystem around Open Government and Open Data innovations required to achieve the Government’s objectives of greater competitiveness, transparency, and citizen engagement.
Teams from the World Bank’s ICT Sector Unit, Finance, and the World Bank Institute The traveled to the Republic of Moldova for the Open Innovation Week to deliver a series of training and knowledge-sharing events and to support the Open Innovation Weekend (consisting of a techcamp, "Apps for Moldova" hackathon, and apps contest) The following events took place during Open Innovation Week in Moldova.
- Data-Driven Journalism Bootcamp for Moldovan Media (May 14-15, 2012);
- Multi-Stakeholder PFM Training and Data Analysis Workshop (May 16-18, 2012);
- Open Government Day (May 16, 2012);
- Open Innovation Weekend/Challenge (May 18 -20, 2012)
Up to 300 participants representing different stakeholder groups participated in the events: mass media, civil society, Government, Developers’ community, etc. However, the outcome is not only the result of the efforts put as part of these events, it’s a synergy of the initiatives launched in Moldova some time ago.
This multifaceted event was organized bhy 45 participants including 14 international experts, 16 World Bank ICT and Finace Sector and World Bank Institute staff and 15 representatives from Moldova Government Agencies and civil society.
Summary of Open Innovation Week Events
Data-Driven Journalism Bootcamp for Moldovan Media (May 14-15) was a 2-day experiential training program developed and convened by the World Bank Institute (WBI) for 68 journalists, civil society representatives, and coders.  This Data Driven Journalism Bootcamp featured hands-on, guided practicals and core skills development to strengthen demand-side engagement, use, and ownership of Moldova's Open Data,  This included basic Excel/spreadsheet skills building (including creating pivot tables), scraping data, cleaning it, creating visualizations (using Google tools, including , , and ), and ultimately, crafting meaningful narratives from the data.  The Bootcamp was the first engagement of Moldovan media in the Open Government-Open Data space, and the first ever south-south knowledge exchange of African technical knowledge on the demand-side of open data to be showcased and transmitted to Central Europe.  To facilitate this knowledge exchange and capacity development, WBI convened several prominent, authoritative data journalism experts and trainers to conduct each of the practicals, including African Open Data experts Justin Arenstein of Google & the International Center for Journalists,  of the Kenya Open Data Task Force,  of the Open Institute, and Amadou Ba of the African Media Initiative, David Lemayian, the international Google Android App Competition winner, and Mark De Blois of Upande, as well as international data journalism experts Alex Howard of O'Reilly Media, Friedrich Lindenberg of the Open Knowledge Foundation, and Lisa Evans from The Guardian (UK).  As part of the Bootcamp, all participants self-organized into several of small teams on Day 1 (around topics they selected: "Education", "Media Outlet Ownership", "Health", "Infrastructure", "Justice", and "Environment"), so that each team could apply what they had learned to map out story ideas.  Each team presented rough visualizations and story outlines to the whole group at the end of Day 2.  The cohort has since refined and finalized their stories, which they have submitted to a  specifically designed for the Moldova training.  A USD $2,000 prize (donated by the African Media Initiative) will be split/awarded as a prize to the team(s) with the most innovative use of data in their story.  Other incentives include advice and input on how to collaborate with African journalists on innovative data-driven stories to enter the .  Ultimately, WBI's PFM Data Journalism Bootcamp is a first key step to support ongoing efforts to build/strengthen a self-reinforcing community of practice around Moldova's Open Government-Open Data processes, to grow systemic demand, to help sustain the 'open' trajectory.  More details about the Data Journalism Bootcamp are available here.
Open Data Journalism Hands-On Training »
Multi-Stakeholder PFM Training and Data Analysis Workshop (May 16-18),  BOOST training. This three day training, conducted by the World Bank Institute and designed to support Moldova’s release of budget data under the Open Government Partnership national action plan was delivered for 65+ civil servants and NGO experts. It helped build  local capacity on how to analyze the data in the context of public financial management (PFM). Moldova is the first country in the world to launch the BOOST database containing comprehensive information on budget expenditures  and integrated with the Moldova Data Portal. This workshop enabled attendees to better understand and engage on budget processes by providing training on BOOST as well as on the basics of public expenditure analysis and key PFM principles. During the workshop, participants were guided through a facilitated action learning process which included assessments of priority needs, mapping of relevant initiatives, greatest opportunities and barriers to progress, and the development of concrete action plans which were presented on the last day. In addition, the workshop highlighted “showcase apps” based on BOOST data and supported in Moldova by the World Bank: (detailed information on budget expenditures for secondary schools in Moldova – “Check My School”); (visualization of government spending data – “Where Does My Money Go”). 
Smart Government Day (May 16): The World Bank team partnered with the Moldova ICT Summit 2012 by organizing jointly with the e-Government Center on Wednesday, May 16th the sub track on Smart Government: Open Government, Open Innovation, and Open Data. There were a total of 157 participants representing government agencies, civil society and academia.The 2012 Moldova ICT Summit was organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications and built upon the 2010 and 2011 Summits.  It gathered together industry stakeholders from Government, the Moldovan and international business community, multinational companies, and academia to discuss international and national trends and challenges facing the ICT industry. More details about the main tracks of the Summit, presenters, speakers and sessions can be accessed here. To facilitate this knowledge exchange and capacity development, the Bank convened several prominent, authoritative International  experts and trainers to conduct each of the panels, including Andrew Stott, Former UK Deputy CIO, including African Open Data experts Justin Arenstein of Google & the International Center for Journalists,  of the Kenya Open Data Task Force,  of the Open Institute, and Amadou Ba of the African Media Initiative, David Lemayian, the international Google Android App Competition winner, and Mark De Blois of Upande, as well as international data journalism experts Alex Howard of O'Reilly Media, Friedrich Lindenberg of the Open Knowledge Foundation, Beth Noveck, professor, New York Law School, Cristiano Ferri, eDemocracy Portal, Brazil, Wayne Burke, Open Forum Foundation, Dmitry Kachaev, Open Innovation Expert, and Ton Zijlstra, ePSIPlatform (EU’s open data community). Each session of the subtrack consisted on the keynote speeches, panel discussions and lightning talks in PetchaCucha format. The focus of the subtrack was on how Government can become “smarter”, driven by data and by citizen feedback and engagement; how the Open Government and Open Data commitments already made can be used to grow citizen engagement, improve public services and grow new businesses; how a policy of “Open Innovation” that encourages citizen engagement in the design and delivery of services can save money and improve outcomes; and how governments can use Cloud Computing technology to join up services, deliver e-government faster, and save costs.  This subtrack both showcased achievements and strategic plans in Moldova and discussed the latest world-wide developments in this fast-moving field. 

Smart Society Day (May 17):  Two World Bank international experts - Andrew Stott and Alexander Howard - were invited to take part in a public roundtable with the Prime Minister and the Moldovan cabinet launching “Digital Moldova 2020” as part of the ICT Summit.  Andrew Stott delivered a speech on the Digital  Moldova 2020 Strategy, in which he highlighted the importance of ICT and e-services to Moldovan government and expressed appreciation that the telecom, health, justice, and social protection ministries all had formulated transformation stratgies in their sectors and had representatives present.  He welcomed the Governance e-Transformation Strategy and the plans for e-services set out by Secretary General Bodiu and Stela Mocan, Executive Director of the e-Government Center. Attached is the complete presentation of Andrew Stott. Bank speakers also presented at the ICT Summit session on “Intelligent ICT Investment” supporting the e-Government Center in their advocacy of improving project management skills, project controls, and portfolio management.

The Open Innovation Weekend (May 18 -20) was a three-day event aimed at stimulating development of an Open Innovation ecosystem in Moldova through leveraging the potential of open data and other types of data, in order to be able to produce useful and valuable apps. The event brought 168 participants, including representatives of the IT developer community, civil society organizations, Governmental institutions and the private sector. During the 3 days, participants received technical training (Open Innovations TechCamp) and then teams participated in a software development event (“Apps for Moldova” Hackathon) to develop innovative applications.  At its conclusion, an independent international jury awarded prizes for winning apps. Over 15 teams entered 18 applications ideas / prototypes for web and mobile in the contest, which were meant to help solve social problems and encourage innovation around open government data and citizen crowdsourced data. Most of the apps submitted were of high quality, and some were recognized by the experts as novel even by global standards. Four winning apps will be supported by the Moldova eGovernance Center ("Social Tools", "Open Med", "MoldBizPedia" and "e-ticketing") and a few more by other sponsors. A full list of the developed apps is available here. 
The Open Innovation Weekend was also very successful in drawing local sponsors and organizers.  Large companies such as Moldcell and Endava contributed with prizes/awards and different opportunities for the contest teams and demonstrated commitment to support similar initiatives in the future. The CMB Training Center and the Association of IT Developers managed to partner successfully on this initiative and deliver high quality results. 
Contest participants gave very positive feedback focused mainly on the high quality both of the event organization of the event and of the experts and tech expertise provided: "We really learned a lot and received all the support we needed. We look forward to similar new initiatives which help in generating ideas and mobilizing teams of developers" (participants). All contest teams will have the opportunity to share publicly their applications on a Publica Online TV program starting mid June 2012.  More details about the Open Innovation Weekend are available at . Full coverage of the event is available on Storify, the U.S. State Dept.'s DipNote Blog, and on the OGP site.

Apart from supporting the above series of events, the World Bank ICT / World Bank Finance / WBI team reviewed the progress and helped define the next steps on the 3 “showcase apps” building upon the open government data and citizen crowdsourced data (;;; presented to the local stakeholders and collected feedback on the Open Development Technology Alliance case study “The Journey of Open Government & Open Data Moldova"; and made a presentation on World Bank’s work on opening up its financial data.
The Open Innovation Challenge “Apps for Moldova” resulted in creating a Kenya-Moldova partnership of developer communities.  Three applications from the DDJ workshop were considered for the News Innovation Challenge and the Soros apps contest.