Our mission and values

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People, economies and societies are not getting the best value from data.

Business and funding models can restrict the social and economic benefits we receive from data and expose us to privacy and security risks. Data monopolies can increase inequality in how information is accessed and used. Startups, researchers and communities can miss out if they can’t afford the fees or access is delayed.

At the ODI, we advocate for and support an open culture: a data infrastructure that is as open as possible; data literacy and capability for all; and open innovation. At the same time, fears arising from legitimate concerns – such as who has access to data and how it might be used – can prevent us from realising data’s full benefits. Some people withdraw their consent for organisations to use data about them, leading to data that’s biased and misleading. Restrictive laws governing how data is collected and used lead to missed opportunities.

At the ODI, we advocate for and support practices that increase trust and trustworthiness: building ethical considerations into how data is collected, managed and used; ensuring equity around who accesses, uses and benefits from data; engaging widely with affected people and organisations. We cannot tackle these issues on our own. We work with others with the same or similar goals. We focus our efforts on one part of the challenge: helping companies and governments to build an open and trustworthy data ecosystem. These organisations have particular opportunities and responsibilities as data’s main collectors and users. In building this ecosystem, they can become more efficient, make their business and funding models more sustainable, and benefit society.

Our values

Expert

We are good at what we do. We use our expertise to achieve our mission. We are open and generous with our expertise and experience, and share it outside and inside ODI.

We can get better at what we do. We recognise the limits of our expertise and respect that of others. We are open to and seek advice, opinions and support to develop our expertise, within and outside ODI. We reflect on what works and what doesn’t to consciously learn, improve and grow.

Enabling

We succeed when others flourish. We support and challenge others to do their best work. We open up opportunities for other people and organisations, and empower them to take them. We are as open as possible about what we are doing and what we have learnt. We encourage others to refine and build on our work.

We empathise with others so we can help them. We find out what people and organisations really need. We have empathy with their motivations and the constraints they operate under. We communicate in terms they understand.

Fearless

We are trusted because we are honest and responsible. We are open with our opinion, open to hearing what others say, open to being wrong and open to changing our mind. We are not afraid to speak our mind when it is useful or important, and take responsibility for the results of doing so. We actively and curiously listen to others, and take responsibility for our responses to them.

We can do more than we might think. We are bold, creative and open to failure. We know what we do won’t be perfect at first but that doesn’t stop us. We start small and quickly, and iterate to improve.