Sometimes it feels like life -or professional life, to be more precise- is just a series of never-ending, constantly work in progress projects and experiences.
Take advisory assignments, for instance. They usually kick off with a client stating: "this should only take a few weeks, four months tops". But you have been there before, and you know damn well that things -and timetables- never go as planned. Closing could well be over a year off.
You can see it on the investment front too. Which start-ups exceed their founders' expectations, not just in terms of achievement or value creation, but the time it takes them to test and validate (or not) the concepts that underpinned their business endeavor? Not many that I can point too.
When @dcabo and I set up Civio with our non-for-profit hat on at the beginning of 2012, we were fundamentally optimistic, but we were aware too of the mounting difficulties we were going to face for the initiative to succeed: limited resources at hand, team building challenges, an unfavorable institutional setting, complex communication issues, etc.
That is one of the reasons why sometimes it is necessary to pause for a second and recognize the tangible progress achieved.
In our first fifteen months we have launched the Spanish version of Where Does My Money Go; we created –together with Access Info Europe– a crowdfunded Freedom of Information question site, that we use while campaigning to get an FOI law approved in Spain; and we have organized data-journalism seminars and training modules for institutions, journalists, developers and big media like El País, leveraging the experience we have obtained building highly-focused sites on forest fires, governmental pardons or regularly monitoring and scraping the country’s official gazette.
We have also helped top institutions like BBVA launch data-based contests that should strengthen the Spanish Open Data ecosystem injecting some much-needed third party liquidity (via monetary awards to the winners) and granting enhanced media exposure. Finally, we have received spectacular international backing for our next power network visualization project.
We have walked some distance towards our objective of empowering citizens, raising transparency and accountability levels through the use of information technologies and data journalism, and thus towards our ultimate goal of achieving significant cultural and legislative changes in our country.
So yes, things may often take a lot more time and effort than we would want them to before they do crystalize. But this does not mean that they never do!