This week learn about the data analytics revolution, the way that open data is being used by the private sector to increase revenue and how open data entrepreneurs are stirring where no data exists. There are insights on how data and stories flow in today's information ecosystems and the ethics of data use by civil society is be explored at a conference later this year.
This article in the latest issue of the McKinsey Quarterly summarizes the views of eight of the most senior executives from leading data analytics companies on their biggest challenges. These included AIG, American Express, Samsung Mobile, Siemens Healthcare, TD Bank, and Wal-Mart Stores. They explain why data and analytics aren’t overhyped—but oversimplified, how giving consumers control can help address privacy concerns, and why lack of talent is stimulating innovation. They also discuss the potential for a data analytics center of excellence and the importance of investment.
In this World Bank blog post Benjamin Herzberg gives examples of businesses have already adopted open and collaborative practices to increase revenue. They have done so to improve internal governance frameworks, increase feedback and improve service and product delivery and manage risk. He says “transparency is the new power”. For example JP Morgan Chase provides information to the banking authorities on its thousands of subsidiaries. Walmart offers visibility into its supply chain through real-time, anonymized worker feedback from 279 factories in Bangladesh. Kalsaka mining in Burkina Faso also makes its government contracts openly accessible so that local communities can check if the company is meeting its environmental and labor commitments. With this in mind they have launched the Open Private Sector platform at the World Bank and have been supporting a number of private sector/open data initiatives.
In this World Bank post examples of entrepreneurs in the developing world that have taken advantage of open data where it does not exist are outlined. Their opportunity came from data collection and liberation and not just reuse. For example in Nigeria, Tsaboin's Traffic Talk platform crowdsources traffic data and Prossess, a startup developed sensor-based traffic counters to help governments understand traffic patterns on selected routes. Ayni, is a platform which matches individuals in Latin America who want to recycle electronic products, with those in the market for the electronics (or parts) and Crimebot, plans to address crime via anonymous citizen reporting.
An Ethics of Data Conference will be held at Stanford University, September 15-16, 2014, and is being produced by the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society as part of its Digital Civil Society Lab, in collaboration with the Columbia University School of Journalism Brown Institute and the Harvard Humanitarian Institute. The conference will discuss the ethical choices that nonprofits, funders, and associations face in using digital data for social good. These range from the systemic (how does donor intent relate to digital donations?) to the immediate and life-threatening (what obligations do volunteers tagging tweets have in relation to standard humanitarian practices?)
In this insightful interview Rahul Bhargava research specialist at the MIT Center for Civic Media, talks about his research into how information and stories move in today's information ecosystems. He gives Big Data tips and advice on tools, and explains how he uses “smell” and instinct to verify information and why text and visuals should go together when using data visualisations. He also explains his plans to use technology for a food rescue project in his neighbourhood.