Principle 6: Use Open Standards, Open Data, Open Source, and Open Innovation

Too often, scarce public and international development resources are spent investing in new software code, tools, data collection, content and innovations for sector-specific solutions that are locked away behind licensing fees, with data only used by and available to specific initiatives. An open approach to digital development can help to increase collaboration in the digital development community and avoid duplicating work that has already been done. Programs can maximize their resources — and ultimately their impact — through open standards, open data, open source technologies and open innovation. By taking advantage of existing investments when you are able, you can apply finite digital development resources toward creating global goods. What being “open” means for your initiative will depend on practical and technical constraints, security and privacy concerns, and the dynamics of the people and networks in your space. For example, to what extent your initiative uses open source software will depend on the needs identified for your context and an assessment of which of the available options best meets those needs, factoring in their total cost of ownership.