A fair data economy is built upon collaboration

Report by Heli Parikka, Tiina Härkönen and Jaana Sinipuro: “For a human-driven and fair data economy to work, it must be based on three important and interconnected aspects: regulation based on ethical values; technology; and new kinds of business models. With a human-driven approach, individual and social interests determine the business conditions and data is used to benefit individuals and society.

When developing a fair data economy, the aim has been to use existing technologies, operating models and concepts across the boundaries between different sectors. The goal is to enable not only new data-based business but also easier digital everyday life that is based on the more efficient and personal management of data. The human-driven approach is closely linked to the MyData concept.

At the beginning of the IHAN project, there were very few easy-to-use, individually tailored digital services. For example, the most significant data-based consumer services were designed on the basis of the needs of large corporations. To create demand, prevailing mindsets had to be changed and decision-makers needed to be encouraged to change direction, companies had to find new business with new business models and individuals had to be persuaded to demand change.

The terms and frameworks of the platform and data economies needed further clarification for the development of a fair data economy. We sought out examples from other sectors and found that, in addition to “human-driven”, another defining concept that emerged was “fair”, with fairness defined as a key goal in the IHAN project. A fair model also takes financial aspects into account and recognises the significance of companies and new services as a source of well-being.

Why did Sitra want to tackle this challenge to begin with? What had thus far been available to people was an unfair data economy model, which needed to be changed. The data economy direction had been defined by a handful of global companies, whose business models are based on collecting and managing data on their own platforms and on their own terms. There was a need to develop an alternative, a European data economy model.

One of the tasks of the future fund is to foresee future trends, the fair and human-driven use of data being one of them. The objective was to approach the theme in a pluralistic manner from the perspectives of different participants in society. Sitra’s unique position as an independent future fund made it possible to launch the project.

A fair data economy has become one of Sitra’s strategic spearheads and a new theme is being prepared at the time of the writing of this publication. The lessons learned and tools created so far will be moved under that theme and developed further, making them available to everyone who needs them….(More)“.