Getting Your API Done From the Outside-In
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, you can't get the buy in for APIs within a company or organization. There are many reasons why API efforts will fail within entrenched companies, organizations or government agencies, but in the end you may have to look for alternatives.
If you want to fullfill your API vision, many times you will need to go outside normal operations to get things done. I have multiple projects on my plate right now that have been started as internal projects, but after hitting roadblock after roadblock, key players have approached me to consider doing as an outside project.
One of the best ways to get people interested in APIs, is to get everyone around them talking about APIs or even getting key partners to adopt an API driven approach to a problem. If you can get traction for an API design externally, you may be able to change attitudes.
APIs are about opening up resources for access and use. If you can't get an API designed, developed and deployed internally, consider maybe doing it from the outside-in.