Global development initiatives strive to reduce poverty and inequality, and improve living conditions around the world

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A busy marketplace in Istanbul. CC BY 2.0, uploaded by Johnny Malmedy.

Diverse, accurate, timely and accessible data underpins development initiatives, whether on education, health, population or aid spending. When this data is open – free to access, use and share – it can help measure progress, target programmes, prevent corruption, achieve policy objectives, and stimulate growth and innovation.

The ODI is working to promote open data as a tool for global development.

We deliver support programmes in developing countries, conduct research, and help develop recommended practices and policies when applying open data to help solve development challenges.

Key activities and achievements – 2016

Growing the Open Data Leaders Network
Scaling the impact of open data peer networks in government, through connecting with other city-based, national, sectoral and regional networks. We will continue to work with leaders to overcome implementation challenges, and identify promising practices by providing platforms for learning, networking and sharing.

Developing open data global policy and guidance
The ODI will be involved in local, regional and global forums in order to advance Open Data Charter principles. Specifically, we will create educational materials and guidance to support Charter adoption,contribute to data standards and packages in specific sectors, and support data collaboratives around the world

Enabling innovation with open data in developing countries
We will be exploring how to promote innovation in developing countries to address social challenges with data, and and inspire further release and use of open data. The ODI is looking to partner with local innovation hubs and data labs to support sector-focused challenges on topics addressing sustainable development such as resilient cities, sustainable food production, and transparency in elections.

Publications – 2016

We have published a range of guidance based on lessons learned from our 2015 activities, as part of our IDRC dissemination plan.

How to create and sustain a peer network for open data leaders
A report reviewing the theory and practice behind peer networks as a method for building leadership capacity. Its aim it to help organisations, researchers and global development practitioners to create successful peer networks that support leaders implementing open data initiatives, whether in the private or public sector.

Lessons on supporting open data leadership in developing countries
A method report summarising lessons learned from the our experience supporting open data leaders in developing countries. It is designed to help practitioners and researchers working in good governance or open data to understand effective techniques for building leadership capacity, particularly to implement transformational reforms within government.

How to apply assessment tools for public sector open data initiatives
A method report on how assessment tools can be used to provide useful insights into the progress, opportunities, risks and challenges of implementing an open data initiative (whether at the national, regional or city levels).

Key activities and achievements – 2015

Burkina Faso: supporting democratic elections
Results of Burkina Faso’s 2015 presidential election were openly available in real time in the first fully democratic election process in nearly three decades, fostering confidence in the fairness of the result. The website www.burkina2015.bf displayed real time vote counts for each commune, and information about each candidate was provided by the Burkina Faso National Electoral Commission. News outlets such as Reuters and the national broadcaster for Burkina Faso RTB used the data in their reporting of the elections.

Open Data Leaders Network: building a peer network of global leaders
The Open Data Leaders Network offers a space for sharing knowledge and ideas, peer learning discussing common challenges. It also equips leaders with the ability to solve open data problems in their contexts. In 2015, the ODI ran two cohorts of the Open Data Leaders Network, supporting 14 open data implementers in governments from five continents, with 10 in developing countries ranging from Tanzania, Moldova, the Philippines and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Hear from the open data leaders in our short film.

Training over 450 people in developing countries
In 2015 we trained over 450 people in a range of methods and open data topics. These include tailored content on licensing and publication for civil servants in government, to workshops on change management and open data business models at events and conferences around the world.

Publications – 2015

Our white paper ‘Supporting sustainable development with open data’ highlights ways that governments, donors and NGOs can apply open data to help reach the Sustainable Development Goals. We also produced a guide on ‘How to prioritise open data to drive global development’ which maps out relevant datasets and examples of real-world open data applications.

Case studies
Case studies can help to illustrate how open data can be applied in governments. Our case studies on Mexico, Macedonia and Moldova highlight what worked well and what the challenges were. Another covers how global health watchdog Aidspan uses open data to keep track of Global Fund health spending.

Join the discussion

We are seeking input from experts in the field, engaging them to join the discussion as ODI Members, bloggers and advisors. We want to harness the value of open data to inform decision making, boost innovation and promote transparency in global development, from Nepal to Chile.

If you have ideas or experience in open data that you’d like to share, pitch us a blog or tweet us at @ODIHQ.