As the 28 February deadline for submitting entries for the second edition of the Sharing & Reuse Awards approaches, representatives of 3 winning solutions - iMIO, Oskari and MAGDA platform - share their experience of the 2017 competition, talk about how it benefited their projects, and offer some top tips for future participants.
Joël Lambillotte, Deputy Managing Director at iMio (winner of the first prize in the regional category in 2017), had this to say about participating in the Sharing & Reuse Awards contest: “It was a really rewarding experience to be able to share with other countries because different towns in different countries have to cope with the same problems, so it was interesting to share knowledge and needs.”
His company, which helps 300 local authorities in southern Belgium to share open source software for their own needs, received EUR 15,000 at the awards ceremony in Lisbon in 2017. “We used part of this to finance the open source community that we are working with, and they promote our projects and the projects of the European Commission through their websites and their networks,” he added.
Lambillotte noted that, thanks to taking part in the competition, his company saw a significant increase in the reuse of its solution. “In two years we will be self-supporting as the project is financed by local authorities. We have grown by at least 10% per year, which is quite impressive,” he explained.
Oskari, an open source free online tool for creating imbedded maps or geo-portals, was awarded second place in the competition’s cross-border category. Oskari’s Senior Advisor, Timo Aarnio said that the organisation was motivated to take part by a desire to get some visibility for their solution and make it better known outside of Finland. “This was a great opportunity for us to showcase what we have done and to see how well it compares to the other solutions out there in the market,” he said, adding that the competition was a great opportunity to raise awareness and promote reuse.
Like iMio, Oskari is also investing the prize money in the community developing the software. “We have a community of about 40 members and we decided to invest in this to generate more results,” Aarnio added.
Hans Arents, Senior Advisor for Digital Government at Flanders Information Agency, represents the MAGDA Platform, which took second place in the regional category. “The MAGDA Platform is a data exchange platform – a set of common data exchange services which are being used by the 190 agencies and 30 departments in the Flemish regional government and also by 308 local governments,” he said. “So, it is not the solution itself that is being reused but the services that are provided by the platform.”
Arents further explained that the platform participated in the competition to showcase its solution, increase visibility, and to demonstrate how the solution is used to apply the once-only principle in Flanders. “The competition was also an opportunity to learn from others, exchange best practices, and see what others have done to solve the same kind of problems,” he said.
He also stressed that the competition gave the project significant cross-border visibility. “At the conference we met a lot of interesting people who were struggling with the same problems. After we won the prize, we were contacted by neighbouring countries - the Netherlands, France and Germany – which were interested in using our platform for cross-border applications,” he continued.
Arents had a tip for future applicants. “Make a copy of the application form that you can work on at your leisure and fine-tune with your colleagues, and then fill in the online application form once this is completed,” he said.
Submit your entries for the 2019 competition!
Do you have a solution for digitising public services that has already been reused? Then why not gain more visibility and share it further? To enter the contest, fill in the online submission form, or take a look at the Sharing & Reuse Awards page for more information. But hurry! Submissions close on 28 February 2019!
You can also watch fragments of the interview with the 2017 winners here.