New York open-data program chief joins Johns Hopkins Center for Government Excellence

Andrew Nicklin, former head of groundbreaking open-data programs in New York city and state, has joined a Johns Hopkins University project to make cities' data more accessible and help solve urban problems.

Image caption: Andrew Nicklin

Nicklin will serve as director of open data at the university's new Center for Government Excellence. The center, launched in April, will advise at least 100 mid-sized U.S. cities on how to allow citizens to see and use more municipal data. It will also help mayors and other leaders better use data-based evidence to improve accountability in operations and bring citizens into decision-making.

He joins the center's executive director, Beth Blauer, former director of Maryland's StateStat data-driven state government performance management system, and deputy director Sharon Paley, cofounder of Hack Baltimore and former chief operating officer for the Greater Baltimore Technology Council.

"Andrew is a dynamic leader with vast experience in the creation and direction of open-data programs," Blauer said. "His incredible expertise and unparalleled open-data experience will greatly enhance our work helping American cities govern with data to ultimately improve the lives of residents."

Nicklin will be an advocate for making municipal government data freely available, design and implement opportunities for the public to use open data, create and spread best practices, provide strategic technical assistance, and work to align technology and data standards across cities.

"All of our lives are informed and transformed by open data every day, even when we don't notice it," Nicklin said. "Joining the center is a unique opportunity to impact, on a large scale, how cities, home to 80 percent of the U.S. population, are implementing open data to improve quality of life, increase business opportunities, and enhance trust in government."

Nicklin, who has both technical and policy expertise, had served since 2013 as director of Open NY, managing New York state's open data and transparency program, which now has more than 1,100 state government data sources online and open to the public. Previously, he was with New York City in a number of roles from 1997 to 2013. Among other accomplishments aimed at improving government performance, he launched NYC OpenData, public engagement events like hackathons and the NYC BigApps competitions, and other open government initiatives.

Both Open NY and NYC OpenData are "widely recognized for their ground-breaking policy frameworks, excellent data-management practices, and powerful public-engagement strategies," Blauer said.

Nicklin has led small teams, medium-sized departments, and executive governance groups, Blauer said. His broad technology experience includes data management, standards collaboration, information security, infrastructure operations, application lifecycle management, project management, resource planning, procurement and more.

The university's new Center for Government Excellence has financial backing from three-term New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as part of Bloomberg Philanthropies' new $42 million What Works Cities initiative. The center is housed within the university's 21st Century Cities Initiative, an interdisciplinary strategy to address urban challenges in the United States and around the globe.