Keith McDonald

Founder of the Open News Network (former Open Data Lead, City of Toronto)

    By day, Keith is a mild mannered Public Engagement Professional and Speaker Coach. By night, his secret identity is revealed to be a passionate Open Data Advocate with a futurist slant. He fights against alienation and conflict with technology to awaken audiences and empower citizens to take control over the inevitable changes technology brings. He began his Open Data adventures in 2008 with the City of Toronto where, during an eight year tenure as Open Data Lead, he provided over 70 per cent of staff and public engagements for the initiative.

    In 2018, Keith launched the Open News Network to present a number of projects including a series of interviews with thought leaders called keithCHATS, a soundtrack album of original technology themed songs (including the unofficial Open Data National Anthem: “the Open Data Song”), blogs, podcasts and a live, documentary-style workshop: includedOUT ~ excludedIN that brings all of these elements together to discuss Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Social Media and Open Data. The workshop is currently being offered at multiple locations within the Toronto Public Library system.

    The ambitious effort was inspired by a 2017 trip to Shanghai, China where Keith was invited to speak at the International Open Data and Urban Innovation Summit. His impressions and research on how fast and how far China is moving with technology (including Open Data) triggered a renewed passion to spread the “Open” mantra here at home.