Rufus Pollock

Pragmatic Utopian

Systems Researcher, Cultural Activist and Social Entrepreneur working for a Radically Wiser World

About Consulting Speaking

Rufus Pollock is an entrepreneur, researcher and technologist working to create an open information age. Founder and President of Open Knowledge, a leading international non-profit that empowers people and organizations with access to information and the tools and skills to make sense of it. A recognized global expert on open data and open knowledge. He has worked with multiple governments, IGOs such as the World Bank and the UN, businesses and CSOs.

Information Economy

If you have ever been online, watched a movie or taken a medicine you have been a user of information. Today information in the form of software, databases and innovations is becoming more important than ever before. Information is becoming main thing we make, trade and use.

This is a new world being built on β€œbits”. Its virtual nature makes it different from the physical world of bread and land and cars which can only have one user at a time. By contrast, information can be used by many simultaneously. The implications of this are huge. It makes a world of open information both possible and desirable β€” that is a world in which all public information can be openly and freely used, shared and built on.

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Wise Society

From climate change to obesity it seems clear that our societies are less wise than we would like β€” or need. Wisdom can sound other-worldly. But I believe it can and should be eminently practical and that wisdom offers a valuable way to frame an important and essential enquiry into how we can make our societies and institutions better. Wisdom is an idea that requires us to reflect on ends as well as means β€” where we are going as well as how to get there. For example, we focus a great deal on growth, but what kind of growth do we want and why do we want it? Conversely, lofty ideals are all very well, but without practical ways to turn them into reality they may be of little value.

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Data Systems

Who would you want to diagnose your cancer scan? An expert doctor or a data-driven algorithm? What about who you hire? Or your advertising spend? You might be surprised by the answers, And the answers are more relevant today than ever before because data is everywhere. And it comes in a bewildering variety of forms -- from big to open, personal to real-time, and many more. We hear of data-driven decisions and data-driven organizations, data deficits and data gaps, data strategies and data officers. But how can data actually make a difference to you and your organization? Or, for that matter, to our society? Where can you get real value -- and what's just snake oil? In this talk we will go beyond the hype and buzzwords. We will delve into how and why data can make a real difference to you and your work -- as well the practical pitfalls and challenges.

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