“I’ve committed to spreading Government 3.0 over the past one year and 2 months. As a result, public awareness of Government 3.0 has increased from 35 percent to 47 percent. Leaving the job of promoting Government 3.0 behind, I’ve been newly appointed as head of the Local Administration Office at the Ministry of the Interior,” said Shim Duk-seob, Head of the Creative Government & Organization Management Office at the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) on Feb. 5.
In order to help Government 3.0 permeate the daily lives of the public, the MOI on Feb.4 announced “Government 3.0’s 10 Objectives for 2016”:
1) Nationwide provision of Government 3.0 Happy Childbirth One-stop Service
2) Early opening of public data in 22 sectors and expansion of data opening standards
3) Expanding the number of open data categories available on Minwon (www.minwon.go.kr)’s My Life Information from 21 to 41
4) Linking Korea Employment Welfare Service centers with Centers for Creative Economy and Innovation
5) Integrating five welfare vouchers into one: Kookmin Happiness Card
6) Integrating 18 property-related documents into a single document
7) Unveiling desktop and mobile versions of nationwide ‘Korea Safety Map’ services
8) Customized education support services
9) Big data-based prevention of contagious diseases
10) Greater convenience for Korean nationals living abroad, farming communities and patent-holding technicians
Assistant Minister Shim Duk-seob said: “This year will witness the innovations brought on by Government 3.0 coming to the fore.”
As Shim leaves the Creative Government & Organization Management Office, which has been dedicated to the promotion of Government 3.0 (a new governance paradigm to deliver customized public services and generate new jobs in a creative manner by opening and sharing government-owned data to the public), he sat down with The Korea IT Times to talk about major achievements and startups that benefitted from greater access to government data.
Q: It’s been four years since the government unveiled its plan for the expansion of open government data. Pleases tell us about major achievements and this year’s direction of policy.
A: First of all, we’ve paid the legal foundations for disclosure of government data. In October 2013, we enacted the Public Data Act and launched Open Data Strategy Council. The number of government data categories made accessible to the public tripled to roughly 15,000. Public access to government data surged 56-fold to 780,000 cases; services based on access to open government data jumped 17-fold to approximately 700.
At the end of 2014, a total of 36 datasets, including property information and business district information, were selected as the nation’s key public data that should be made accessible to the public.
Last year, government data, including information on municipal licenses and transportation, were made open to the public in 11 new categories; public data utilization services deemed to invade the private market were scrapped – for instance, the Korea Meteorological Administration’s weather app. This year, the Public Data Act was revised to make it mandatory to check whether similar or overlapping services are offered by different public institutions.
To encourage startups capitalizing on access to government data, we set up a one-stop support system to back up the entire process of starting a business, from discovering ideas and commercializing them to startup acceleration, through inter-ministerial collaboration project “Startup Collabo Project.”
This year, we plan to open up more government data in 22 new categories, including information on national disaster management and information on food and drugs, at an earlier date to make the public feel the benefits of Government 3.0 in their daily lives.
Quality-wise, we are set to evaluate government data quality management to make disclosure of public data translate into the speedy development of new services.
Improving the quality of government data made accessible to the public, we plan to follow through with Startup Collabo Project to help the private sector take full advantage of the disclosure of government data of decent quality.
Q: Open Square D is said to be the nation’s first center to support startups based on access to open government data. Please tell us more about it.
A: Open Square D is a startup support center that helps anyone with ideas and technologies related to open government data commercialize the ideas and start a business. Many people have ideas worthy of commercialization but most of them do not know where they can get help to turn their ideas into a business.
We learned that entrepreneurial-minded people had difficulty finding a space where they can nurture their ideas into a business. To address the issue, we opened Open Square D to expedite the creation of startups utilizing open government data.
Open Square D has “Collaboration Space,” which encourages sharing of ideas and technical knowhow and formation of communities, and offers offices to entrepreneurial hopefuls. In December 2015, a total of seven teams, including Modu Company, developer of parking space search app “Modu Parking,” moved in.
There are promising startups armed with creative ideas, such as a public data-based mobile mail service, a GPS-based customized care service, etc. On top of that, Open Square D will periodically provide education and consulting services, mentoring services and hold investment seminars, startup pitch presentations and lectures.
Q: Startups utilizing open government data seem to flourish. Please introduce examples of successful startups and government support policy for such startups.
A: In 2015, there was a Big Bang that brought startups using open government data into existence. The number of services using open government data jumped 17-fold from 42 in 2013 to roughly 700 at the end of 2015. Popular navigation app "Kim Kisa," which taps into KoROAD’s transportation information, was acquired by Daum Kakao for 62.6 billion won.
South Korean property listing platform “Zigbang,” which taps into information on actual property transactions disclosed by the Korea Appraisal Board, won 38 billion won in investment from a consortium of investors led by Goldman Sachs. Yellow Mobile’s hospital search app “GoodDoc,” which taps the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA)’s open data, finished 1st among medical apps on Google Play, raising 230 billion won in cumulative investment as of 2015.
BirdView, developer of “Hwahae” (an app that offers information on the ingredients of beauty products, was taken over by financial infrastructure company NICE after attracting an investment of 600 million from a venture firm.
Restaurant ranking app “Red Table,” which taps into data held by the Korea Tourism Organization, received 1.1 billion won in investment from a Korean venture firm and is trying to break into foreign markets through the signing of contracts with the UK’s ResDIARY and China’s Alipay.
Through Startup Collabo Project, ministries are assisting startups in making good use of open government data. The MOI will help discover creative ideas by holding startup idea contests, Hackathon and startup seminars for undergraduates. The job of providing a space, startup funds and consulting services will be taken care of by the Small and Medium Business Administration and the Financial Services Commission.
Q: According to the OECD’s Government at a Glance 2015, published in July 2015, South Korea ranked 1st in Open Government Data (OGD), scoring 0.98 out of 1.0. Could you elaborate on that
A: In 2015, the OECD’s Government at a Glance introduced an index that looks at government efforts to make public data available. South Korea scored high in all three categories (availability, accessibility and government support) since we opened up government data in the four key categories that the OECD underlines, providing public data in an open format and carrying out startup support programs such as Hackathon.
Compared with 2013, the amount of open government data tripled and downloads surged more than 56-fold. We have been vigorously pressing ahead with Startup Collabo Project since 2015.