On paper, the City of Edmonton has mastered advanced data practices. Throughout its more than six years of working with open data and open government principles, the City has won many awards, including the Open Cities Index, the Top 7 Intelligent Communities of 2017, and WeGo Smart Sustainable City awards. Even still, Edmonton recognized there were some areas of its internal data practice, in particular, that could use additional attention to sustain and spread this work throughout the entire organization. Without holistic staff capacity and the incorporation of resident opinion in the data process, Edmonton needed to take a step back in order to move forward.
In partnership with the team at John Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) through the What Works Cities (WWC) initiative, the City of Edmonton embarked on a mission to do the internal work needed to ensure the longevity of its data practices. Edmonton took a scientific, rigorous approach. From assessing staff’s skills and designing trainings in response, to creating a data governance team, the City reinvisioned how its data management practices would be structured.