How government can promote open data

Michael Chui, Diana Farrell, and Kate Jackson from McKinsey: “Institutions and companies across the public and private sectors have begun to release and share vast amounts of information in recent years, and the trend is only accelerating. Yet while some information is easily accessible, some is still trapped in paper records. Data may be free or come at a cost. And there are tremendous differences in reuse and redistribution rights. In short, there are degrees when it comes to just how “open” data is and, as a result, how much value it can create.
While businesses and other private organizations can make more information public, we believe that government has a critical role in unleashing the economic potential of open data. A recent McKinsey report, Open data: Unlocking innovation and performance with liquid information,1 identified more than $3 trillion in economic value globally that could be generated each year in seven domains through increasingly “liquid” information that is machine readable, accessible to a broad audience at little or no cost, and capable of being shared and distributed. These sources of value include new or increased revenue, savings, and economic surplus that flow from the insights provided by data as diverse as census demographics, crop reports, and information on product recalls.
Sitting at the nexus of key stakeholders—citizens, businesses, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—government is ideally positioned to extract value from open data and to help others do the same. We believe government can spur value creation at all levels of society by concurrently fulfilling four important open-data roles (exhibit):

Government can serve as an open-data provider, catalyst, user, and policy maker to create value and mitigate risks.