About the ODI

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The ODI is a non-profit with a mission to work with companies and governments to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem. We work with a range of organisations, governments, public bodies and civil society to create a world where data works for everyone.

The ODI is a non-profit company, founded in 2012 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shadbolt. Since 2017, the ODI’s operating costs of around £6m per annum have been met through a range of grants and commercial revenue.

Many of our products and services are available openly and for free, including our reports, tools and webinars.

What we believe

At the ODI, our mission is to work with companies and governments to build an open, trustworthy data ecosystem.

We want a world where data works for everyone. This means getting data to those who need it, particularly in response to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

To achieve our mission, we:

  • work with organisations to help them use better data practices
  • work with sectors and regions to ensure data is helping them
  • help interpret and apply the latest thinking around data and data infrastructure.

What are we?

The ODI operates as an institute, and we also undertake commercial work that advances our mission. We:

  • work in policy – influencing government decisions towards the kind of data ecosystem we want to create that will be best for society
  • work with businesses – helping them to develop ethical, equitable data infrastructure that will be both good for business and their social mission
  • work with philanthropic and other grant-giving organisations – to build a data infrastructure that brings benefits to all
  • work with governments, research organisations, public bodies and civil society around the world – to ensure that they can benefit from better data infrastructure.

Our work includes a range of activities including conducting applied research, delivering consultancy services and training, and providing free tools and courses. We have an active and engaged membership community, over 17,000 weekly newsletter subscribers, and hosted more than 1,000 attendees at our recent summit. Since 2012, we have told data stories through our Data as Culture arts programme which includes over 100 artworks.

The work we do

The ODI aims to enable the development of data infrastructure in ways that benefit people, companies, governments and civil society. We focus on increasing data flows around the data ecosystem, improving skills and capabilities, and encouraging innovation. We support data flows, focusing our efforts in three broad areas:

  1. Improving the data practices of organisations so that they can build and manage adequate data infrastructure and data use. Our work on data literacy and data assurance is part of these efforts.
  2. Tackling challenges so that the data ecosystem works better. Our data institutions work and our work on data ecosystems and innovation are part of this.
  3. Gathering and creating research, evidence and knowledge about data and the benefits of open, trustworthy data access, to inform companies and policymakers as they create data infrastructure, assets, practices and policies. This is our evidence and foresight work.

We will continue working with our network and partners to advance our work across these areas.