Building on our previous work in creating the Data Ethics Canvas and our research with Consequential, we have developed a tool for organisations to benchmark their maturity in relation to data ethics and develop action plans to improve their practices.
The Open Data Institute defines data ethics as ‘a branch of ethics that considers the impact of data practices on people, society and the environment’.
Demonstrating ethical values plays a large role in building trust. Ethical considerations in the way an organisation collects, uses and shares data is increasingly on the agenda – both from a social and economic perspective. The rise of data ethics as a recognised discipline is a testament to this.
The data ethics maturity model is a tool for anyone who collects, uses and shares data. It helps assess and benchmark how widely embedded data ethics culture and practices are across your organisation.
It provides a framework to consider current performance and future ambitions, to embed a culture of ethical data practices. This tool builds on the Open Data Institute’s Data Ethics Canvas, which helps identify and manage ethical issues within a specific project, and may be particularly helpful to Data Ethics Professionals who are working to embed a data ethics culture within their organisation.
Data Ethics in practice
The data ethics maturity model is designed to embed and enable a culture of discussion, awareness and interest around the issues facing ethical decisions within the data lifecycle. We envision the model being used in the following way:
- When first engaging with the subject of data ethics, the maturity model can be used as a support tool in conversations with teams and specific stakeholders. This can be a prompt to focus conversations on particular issues/areas, or help structure a broader discussion around current practices and policies.
- Benchmarking departments (or teams) within the organisation against each theme to provide an overall profile for the organisation around their data ethics maturity. Engaging each department will help to highlight areas of strength as well as areas needing improvement across different parts of the organisation. This might form part of a wider data management maturity exercise.
- Supporting the development of an action plan to embed ethical data practises across a department, or organisation.
The Data Ethics Maturity Model is for anyone who collects, shares or uses data
The data ethics maturity model is a tool for anyone who collects, uses and shares data. It may be particularly useful for:
- Leaders who want to shape the organisations ethical framework
- Technical teams who collect, use or share data
- People managing teams responsible for collecting, using and sharing data
- Data professionals working on data transformation or to embed trustworthy data practices
Get involved: Are you trying to build a culture of data ethics? Are you curious about how mature your organisation’s data practices are? Get in contact.