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Image credit: ODI/Caley Dewhurst

R&D: Predicting cause and effect of data strategies

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We’re developing an agent-based model to help us understand the effects of data sharing on companies and consumers, and innovation and productivity across the economy

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Modelling data sharing: why is it important?

Access to data can determine whether a company develops a new product and enters a market – driving innovation and productivity growth – and data sharing could be a way to encourage more economic dynamism. But the impact of more or less data sharing – on companies, consumers, and the economy – is really hard to know with any certainty.

The ODI is building an illustrative agent-based model of data sharing in the economy because we want to develop a much richer picture of its effects.

Our approach

We are using agent-based modelling to articulate our concept of the data economy, and our model is just a first attempt to work through key ideas.

We wanted to try agent-based modelling because recent advances in computing power mean that it has become easier to gauge how the decisions of individual consumers and companies can, over time, produce effects that we might not have expected.

But note that the model has been guided by expertise rather than statistical data and cannot be used to make predictions or policy. Once we have used the model to learn more about our ideas, we intend to make it more robust.

Key outputs

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 a three-year innovation programme, running to March 2020 with a funding profile of £2m each year from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.

The work will enable the UK to build on its established strengths in data and data analytics, break new ground in creating value from data across industry, and ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of data innovation globally.