Joel Gurin

Speech Topics

Open data – freely available data that anyone can use and republish for any purpose – is rapidly being recognized as a major business resource. It’s been used to launch new companies in healthcare, finance, energy, technology, and many other sectors, and has helped hundreds of companies optimize their business through improved processes and market intelligence. City, state, and national governments provide much of today’s open data, with social media, corporate data sharing, and scientific research serving as other important sources.

This presentation will describe the key business uses of open data with a number of use cases that attendees will apply to their own companies, with a particular focus on business intelligence and understanding markets. Key learning objectives include the following:

• How open data and big data are related, and different business value of each.

• How to use major sources of government open data, such as the American Community Survey, to help inform marketing strategy.

• How to find the most usable sources of government data and manage issues of data quality and availability.

• How to apply best practices in using open data from social media and sentiment analysis.

• How and when to consider making your company’s own data open – and what the benefit can be.

•How open data is now being applied in international markets.

Across the country and around the world, city, state, and national governments have discovered the power of Open Data. By providing Open Data – accessible, free, public data that anyone can use – these governments are connecting with their citizens in dramatically new ways. They’re providing Open Data as a public resource that can fuel new and established companies – building everything from public-transportation apps for commuters to a billion-dollar company that’s revolutionizing agriculture. Cities and states are engaging citizens through participatory budgeting and apps that take community volunteerism to a new level. And some cities, like Washington, DC, are mining Open Data from social media to learn how to improve their city services. Joel Gurin, author of Open Data Now and senior advisor at NYU’s Governance Lab, shares the insights and strategies that can help all levels of government become more efficient and effective by sharing Open Data with the citizens they represent.

Since the dawn of modern medicine, doctors and medical researchers have used objective data to measure and improve the quality of medical care. Now the Open Data revolution – the release of accessible, free, public data in critically important areas – is revolutionizing health care and medical research. Biomedical research institutions are using Open Data in a new R&D model that dramatically accelerates innovation. Consumers are using Open Data in “smart disclosure” websites to make better choices among doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other sources of healthcare. Insurance companies are giving their policyholders data about their own medical histories and treatment options to help them find better care and save money. And data analytics companies are using Open Data, from government and other sources, to predict the results of different treatments for different populations. Joel Gurin, the author of Open Data Now and an award-winning science and medical journalist, describes the emerging vision for Open Data in healthcare today and shows where it could lead in the near future.

Anyone who’s ever booked a flight online, used a smartphone’s GPS, or watched The Weather Channel, has used Open Data. An expert in the field, Gurin argues that the future of Open Data is also slowing climate change, improving traffic patterns, helping students graduate from college, and trimming the fat from government spending. Big Data is cloaked, Open Data is transparent. By definition, Open Data is public, pulled from government or other sources, that’s available for anyone to access for personal or business use. Now it’s poised to transform how we use and share information. And Joel Gurin will show you how.


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Joel Gurin is a leading international expert on open data –freely accessible public data that can drive entrepreneurship, business growth, scientific innovation, and programs for the public good. He is President and Founder of the Center for Open Data Enterprise, a new Washington-based nonprofit that promotes the use of open data for social and economic impact. His book Open Data Now (McGraw-Hill), written for a general audience, has helped define this emerging field.

Before launching the Center in January 2015 he was Senior Advisor at the Governance Lab (GovLab) at New York University, a multidisciplinary program to use technology to improve the way we govern. Joel conceptualized and led the development team for the GovLab’s Open Data 500 project, the first comprehensive study of companies that use open government data as a key business resource. He and his team then developed the Open Data Roundtables, which bring together federal agencies with their data customers to help make government data more relevant, accessible, and actionable. The Center for Open Data Enterprise now leads international programs to assess the use of open data and convene key stakeholders. Joel has been a featured speaker at open data conferences in London, Mexico City, Shanghai, Taipei, and cities across the U.S.

Joel Gurin’s background combines government, nonprofit leadership, journalism, and consumer issues. He served as Chair of the White House Task Force on Smart Disclosure, which studied how open government data can improve consumer markets, and as Chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. He was previously Editorial Director and then Executive Vice President of Consumer Reports, where he directed the launch and development of, the world’s largest paid-subscription information-based website. He can be reached at or through his Twitter handle, @joelgurin.

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