Sticking to the vision

The Åpenhet journey began with our co-founder and CEO, Kleng, who turned a dream into reality by blending his governmental experience with cutting-edge technology, forming a team dedicated to leveraging data for global impact.

Åpenhet’s journey began with the vision of Kleng Bråtveit, an adventurous spirit with an inclination towards innovation and a keen eye for recognising unseen potential. Kleng’s career path and innovative approach have been instrumental in shaping our mission to leverage data for global impact.
Kleng took an interest in politics when he participated in a mock parliament in secondary school, simulating the workings of the Norwegian government. Less interested in the back-and-forth of party politics, Kleng instead chose to work to influence policy within the intersection of politics and business, starting his career at McKinsey before moving into the Norwegian central government.
Throughout his career in the central government, Kleng recognised the untapped potential of data in decision-making processes. He saw a significant amount of valuable data being underutilised, particularly in public services and government operations. This realisation grew into frustration as he observed the inefficiencies and lack of innovation in the government’s use of data.
“I saw that we were doing things the way we have always done. And there were so many things that we weren’t able to utilise and make better use of, or could have done in different ways. So this grew into a frustration, but I was also allowed to some extent to explore some of those underutilised processes. So a programmer friend of mine, Kyrre, helped help me to program and optimise some of the work that I had discovered could have been done in differently. I challenged him to see if we could make tools on top some of the available data in the Ministries so it would be accessible in new ways.”
So Kleng set out to explore how technology and data could be better utilised to aid policymaking. The challenge, however, was that he was still in government, and so was limited in his influence from the inside. The solution was to form a company.
Whilst still in government, Kleng’s drive for innovation became a known part of his character even beyond Norway. So whilst visiting Paris as a Norwegian delegate to the OECD, Kleng was then introduced to a like-minded OECD intern by the name of Yasser Lahbibi. Yasser had himself been automating data analysis processes at the OECD using his own self-programmed tools, and the two formed a relationship based on their shared interest in using technology to better aid policymakers through data, eventually leading to the founding of Åpenhet.
Doing things for impact was important from the get-go. In the early days of Åpenhet, Kleng and the team were involved in Hack for Norway and Data for Good.
“One of the things that I initiated was to collect all the the international laws that had been amended at the UN law, to see which countries had voted for or against implementing the law themselves. And so suddenly you could see how your country had voted against resolutions and not implemented important sounding measures. On a small level I could see the impact that properly communicated data could have on society —  my young daughter was asking me what I'm looking at, and I'm looking at a ban for nuclear waste going to the ocean, and Norway did not sign on to this agreement with the UN. She asks me why, and of course I cannot tell her why, but I know that for the next the prime minister would come visit her school, this kid would put up her hand and she would then have asked these questions. So suddenly people of all sorts would be empowered to know more about their own society, and that knowledge is important for our society.
Despite the great initiatives, Kleng felt that some of the proposed solutions were still missing their full potential as they were rarely taken-forward or implemented in the real world, underscoring the need to work directly with organisations in order to deliver maximum impact.
Since those early beginning Åpenhet have gone on to collaborate with and create tools for the OECD, Transparency International, Walk Free Foundation, Save the Children, International Union for the Conservation of Nature and many more. Through a determination to make real-world impact, Åpenhet’s tools have genuinely transformed the use and impact of data for many of these organisations, a testament to Kleng's vision and dedication.
Kleng and Yasser have now built a team with hybrid backgrounds at the intersection of public policy and digital innovation. The team's ability to understand both worlds has been a key success factor in Åpenhet's history. Since its foundation, Åpenhet has helped various organisations disseminate data and increase the impact of key research findings. Åpenhet’s tools help raise awareness and extend outreach for our partners' activities on topics such as education, health, environment, public integrity, and human rights, areas we have always cared about and always will.

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