Open Data Retrospective

Laura Bacon at Luminate:: “Our global philanthropic organisation – previously the Government & Citizen Engagement (GCE) initiative at Omidyar Network, now Luminate – has been active in the open data space for over decade. In that time, we have invested more than $50m in organisations and platforms that are working to advance open data’s potential, including Open Data Institute, IMCO, Open Knowledge, ITS Rio, Sunlight, GovLab, Web Foundation, Open Data Charter, and Open Government Partnership.

Ahead of our transition from GCE to Luminate last year, we wanted to take a step back and assess the field in order to cultivate a richer understanding of the evolution of open data—including its critical developments, drivers of change, and influential actors[1]. This research would help inform our own strategy and provide valuable insight that we can share with the broader open data ecosystem. 

First, what is open data? Open data is data that can be freely used, shared, and built-upon by anyone, anywhere, for any purpose. At its best, open government data can empower citizens, improve governments, create opportunities, and help solve public problems. Have you used a transport app to find out when the next bus will arrive? Or a weather app to look up a forecast? When using a real estate website to buy or rent a home, have you also reviewed its proximity to health, education, and recreational facilities or checked out neighborhood crime rates? If so, your life has been impacted by open data. 

The Open Data Retrospective

We commissioned Dalberg, a global strategic advisory firm, to conduct an Open Data Retrospective to explore: ‘how and why did the open data field evolve globally over the past decade?’ as well as ‘where is the field today?’ With the concurrent release of the report “The State of Open Data” – led by IDRC and Open Data for Development initiative – we thought this would be a great time to make public the report we’d commissioned. 

You can see Dalberg’s open data report here, and its affiliated data here. Please note, this presentation is a modification of the report. Several sections and slides have been removed for brevity and/or confidentiality. Therefore, some details about particular organisations and strategies are not included in this deck.

Evolution and impact

Dalberg’s report covers the trajectory of the open data field and characterised it as: inception (pre-2008), systematisation (2009-2010), expansion (2011-2015), and reevaluation (2016-2018).This characterisation varies by region and sector, but generally captures the evolution of the open data movement….(More)”.