Open Data for Social Impact Framework

Framework by Microsoft: “The global pandemic has shown us the important role of data in understanding, assessing, and taking action to solve the challenges created by COVID-19. However, nearly all organizations, large and small, still struggle to make data relevant to their work. Despite the value data provides, many organizations fail to harness its power to improve outcomes.

Part of this struggle stems from the “data divide” – the gap that exists between countries and organizations that have effective access to data to help them innovate and solve problems and those that do not. To close this divide, Microsoft launched the Open Data Campaign in 2020 to help realize the promise of more open data and data collaborations that drive innovation.

One of the key lessons we’ve learned from the Campaign and the work we’ve been doing with our partners, the Open Data Institute and The GovLab, is that the ability to access and use data to improve outcomes involves much more than technological tools and the data itself. It is also important to be able to leverage and share the experiences and practices that promote effective data collaboration and decision-making. This is especially true when it comes to working with governments, multi-lateral organizations, nonprofits, research institutions, and others who seek to open and reuse data to address important social issues, particularly those faced by developing countries.

Put another way, just having access to data and technology does not magically create value and improve outcomes. Making the most of open data and data collaboration requires thinking about how an organization’s leadership can commit to making data useful towards its mission, defining the questions it wants to answer with data, identifying the skills its team needs to use data, and determining how best to develop and establish trust among collaborators and communities served to derive more insight and benefit from data.

The Open Data for Social Impact Framework is a tool leaders can use to put data to work to solve the challenges most important to them. Recognizing that not all data can be made publicly accessible, we see the tremendous benefits that can come from advancing more open data, whether that takes shape as trusted data collaborations or truly open and public data. We use the phrase ‘social impact’ to mean a positive change towards addressing a societal problem, such as reducing carbon emissions, closing the broadband gap, building skills for jobs, and advancing accessibility and inclusion.

We believe in the limitless opportunities that opening, sharing, and collaborating around data can create to draw out new insights, make better decisions, and improve efficiencies when tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges….(More)”.