Governments need an 'inquisitive culture informed by data' - Johns Hopkins  report | GovInsider

Conducted by the SixThirty Group, “Explore Open Data” is a project targeted at fostering open data standards, assisting users and publishers to utilize open data more, and building a data-driven government. In this series, various data leaders will be interviewed.

This week, we are interviewing Joyce Edson, who is the Assistant General Manager for Los Angeles’ Information Technology Agency and the Deputy Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the city. With decades of experience in the field, Joyce took part in the launching of, which is Los Angeles’ Open Data site. She obtained a Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree from UCLA and California State University respectively.

Question: Could you please shed more light on your position as the City Deputy CIO?

Joyce: As the City Deputy CIO, I am in charge of app work on an enterprise level. For instance, I oversee the payment of the over 48,000 workers employed by the city. Through the financial management system of Los Angeles, I also manage the payment of vendors. In addition, I provide support for agencies, departments, and bureaus.

Question: Could you describe your experience as the Interim Chief Data Officer?

Joyce: I partook in the launching of the City of Los Angeles’ open data. Although we were one of the last large cities to launch it, we performed excellently. At that stage, I was highly interested in data because of my application background which involves creating, utilizing and improving data. Resultantly, I was concerned about launching the open data site.

The city must ensure residents, businesses, and visitors can work and maneuver with Los Angeles. For this to be possible, data is important. As the Chief Data Officer, I am in charge of ensuring the availability, accuracy, and meaningfulness of the data.

Question: In the City of Los Angeles, What areas are growing at the fastest rate for data-related applications?

Joyce: When it comes to data-related applications, transportation, public safety, and public infrastructure are the fastest-growing areas. Each of these areas is experiencing significant improvements in different aspects such as Wi-Fi availability, childcare, green technologies, etc.

Question: How have open data aided in meeting the objective of enabling businesses and smart cities?

Joyce: A relationship exists between the number of new businesses and the level of support the city is offering these businesses. Without a doubt, open data plays a key role in this relationship. In this regard, we cannot overemphasize the importance of planning zones and building permits. All these play a key role in ensuring that businesses and individuals can decide the right locations and other things about their project.

Question: Could you describe the engagement of the public and things you want to see more of?

Joyce: To engage its four million residents, the city is using various methods. Some of these methods include the business portal and the Business Assistance Virtual Network (BAVN). These platforms allow the public to access some sets of information.

Currently, we are working towards connecting with other governments to improve our capabilities. Also, we want to partake more in various networks that can allow us to reach more people.

Question: Lots of startups also create applications that can help the public. Could you describe the engagement from startups? How is the city supporting startups?

Joyce: La Kretz is an innovation platform created for clean technology. It also accommodates lots of startups. While the city is ready for startup technology, the sustainability and stability of our investment are essential.

Question: What do you recommend for anyone interested in utilizing open data to ensure our city becomes smarter?

Joyce: Such a person must be persistent and ready to inquiry about various things. The city is ready to work with different individuals, startups, businesses, and other government organizations. So, if your objective suits our goal, we are here for you.

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