Data infrastructure for common challenges: why is it important?
- Project: April 2020–March 2021
Multiple organisations in every industry face challenges, whether sector-specific challenges or catalysed by wider societal issues. Many of these challenges could be addressed through better access to data.
Data access initiatives are joint activities and programmes of work that aim to address a specific challenge through increasing access to data, and should build or strengthen data infrastructure.
Data infrastructure for common challenges in practice
Sharing data with competitors can be counterintuitive for businesses, but there are multiple instances which demonstrate the value and efficacy of leveraging a data ecosystem to address a specific common challenge.
For example, HiLo Maritime Risk Management is a not-for-profit joint industry initiative which uses a predictive mathematical model to enhance industry safety. This information guides partner actions, helping to avoid potential high impact incidents.
Similarly the ODI’s OpenActive programme addresses the societal challenge presented by the lack of physical activity in Britain which is one of the country’s biggest public health challenges, causing 37,000 deaths annually and costing £20bn a year. Supporting the sport sector to publish timetables openly and consistently with the aim of lowering the barrier to entry supports businesses to reach new customers, and citizens to get healthy more easily.
The final output of our ‘R&D: Data infrastructure for common challenges’ project is the Data Landscape Playbook, an interactive tool designed to support organisations working on data access initiatives, by helping them conduct a ‘data landscape review’. This process will help them understand and derive the most value from the data infrastructure – or data-related context – in which they operate.
The playbook draws on a variety of existing ODI tools like our Data Ecosystem Mapping tool and the Data Ethics Canvas as well as external concepts such as logic models. It provides guidance around selecting the right data infrastructure for your initiative, and a template and examples for developing your logic model.
Throughout this project we’ve also produced the following research reports:
- ‘Comparing decentralised data publishing initiatives’ comparing decentralised approaches to publishing data using open standards, and a comparison of 14 existing initiatives and their activities and
- ‘Infrastructure for common challenges’ summarising the user needs of organisations involved in data access initiatives that our final outputs help address.
Alongside this we’ve also published a short series of blogs looking at different frameworks for designing and delivering data access initiatives.
Use the Data Landscape Playbook, a playbook for organisations involved in data access initiatives that wish to strengthen their data infrastructure
Use the Logic Model Templates for Data Initiatives, designed to help people plan and communicate impactful data initiatives
Read 'Building an open data standard for reusable packaging', a guest blog by Reath, an organisation we worked with on its data access initiative to build an open data standard for reusable packaging
Read the first blog in our series on data access initiatives.
We explore what systems thinking is and how it can be used as a framework for enabling change.
Read the third blog in our series which explores how logic models can be helpful for designing a data access initiative.
Read the last blog in our series, which looks at how COM-B can help describe behaviour change.
Are you interested in open data? Are you curious about how you could use it, share it or help promote its social, economic and environmental benefits? Get in contact.
Background and funding
This work was part of an innovation programme with funding from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
Through our R&D programme, we aim to shape future services and promote productivity and growth with cutting edge expertise.