Image credit: Caley Dewhurst/ODI

R&D: Data infrastructure for common challenges

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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.

Our approach

In this project we’ll be producing a short focused research report providing a survey of existing initiatives and challenges. We will also produce a report summarising user needs which will support our aim of building prototypes which will help organisations and sectors to develop the data infrastructure required to address their common challenges.

Get involved

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 is 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.