Businesses are beginning to see how data innovation can benefit them, says the ODI’s Commercial Director, David Beardmore, the week that senior representatives of 13 private sector organisations gathered to discuss challenges and benefits
Businesses are crucial in the data economy
A core aspect to the work we do is to help businesses both contribute to and benefit from open data and data infrastructure more broadly.
We have worked with businesses like the international consulting firm Arup to connect with world-class innovators to test concepts, technology and data that could revolutionise smart cities and the built environment. Through our partnership, Arup developed their data strategy and hosted graduated ODI Startups, offering new commercial insights and data expertise to apply in areas such as asset monitoring or airport operations airport infrastructure. We can connect with these kinds of businesses on the level they need. As Arup director Volker Buscher puts it: “The ODI is full of creative people who think at web scale – they share our values of a human-centred digital future, open and focused on value creation.”
As well as helping businesses to innovate with data, we help them to play a part in shaping future standards and opportunities. This means convening and collaborating with them to bring about sector-wide change.
Helping businesses pave the way for sector-wide change
Taking an open approach can help improve competition, drive efficiency and stimulate innovation within a sector. We convened the Open Banking Working Group for HM Treasury, guiding the Competition and Markets Authority’s mandate for open data and open APIs. Open Banking will allow personal customers and small businesses to share their data securely with other banks and with third parties, allowing them to compare products on the basis of their own requirements and to manage their accounts.
The ODI is now focussing on the sports sector, working with Sport England to help reduce inactivity in England by making data about physical activities more openly available. Working with organisations across the sector, we are opening up data, improving data literacy, developing standards and stimulating demand. As Lisa O’Keefe, Director of Insight at Sport England puts it:
“We’re working with the ODI and the rest of the sports sector to make booking dance classes, finding tennis courts and taking part in physical activity sessions easier than ever. This collaboration marks the start of a long-term cultural change for the sector in how it uses data to keep pace with the digital expectations of customers.”
We are also currently convening pharmaceutical organisations to work together to openly publish data on the antibiotic drug resistance in order to guide clinicians on their effective use. According to the Davos Declaration 2016, “the increase in bacterial resistance to antibiotics has been dramatic, and combating this growth is a top priority for global policy and public health.” We are bringing together the pharma sector to agree on standards, to openly publish surveillance data and to collaboratively create tools to make this powerful data accessible and available to make a real difference at a global scale.
This week we gathered senior representatives from our long-standing ODI partnerships including Arup, Deutsche Bank, Syngenta and Thomson Reuters with corporates looking to take an open approach to data and innovation including GSK, Sainsburys, CapitalOne, InSpring and Dunnhumby. What the discussion showed was that sectors face similar challenges, such as finding the right value proposition to go open, navigating legacy systems, equipping their leaders and teams with data literacy skills and knowing which organisation for a particular sector should lead a mission-driven initiative that achieves sector wide change, and what platforms and infrastructure they should adopt.
Vision for future
We expect this trend will continue in years to come, with more businesses embracing the opportunities that open data innovation can bring. We are keen to build on our successes and engage yet more businesses as key stakeholders to ‘take up the baton’ and play their crucial part in enabling a strong, fair and sustainable data economy.