Our three levers

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Our three levers

To further our mission, we need to bring about sustainable behaviour change within companies and governments that hold and use data.

This needs to address the motivation, opportunity and capability of those actors. We have found three sets of activities that, in our experience, are most likely to lead to that sustainable change.

  • Sector programmes – coordinating organisations to tackle a social or economic problem with data and an open approach.
  • Practical advocacy – working as a critical friend with businesses and government, and creating products they can use to support change.
  • Peer networks – bringing together peers in similar situations to learn together

Our three levers

Within sector programmes, we coordinate organisations to tackle a social or economic problem with data, using an open approach. This creates impact both through addressing the problem and embedding good data practices and business models.

Photo: OpenActive, Waterfront Boxing within those organisations.

[Sector programme graphic]

Helping more people get active: OpenActive

OpenActive is a community-led initiative of sport and physical activity organisations and individuals.

Stewarded by the ODI, OpenActive uses open data to help people get active. It aims to support the 17.1 million (38.2%) adults in England who don’t exercise enough to easily discover and take part in sport and physical activity. Empowering people to make better and easier decisions around physical activity benefits the nation – general health and wellbeing is increased, strain on the health service is reduced, and the value of the sport and physical activity sector grows, boosting productivity.

OpenActive has three phases, roughly spanning a 3-year investment of National Lottery funding granted by Sport England. Together, the sector is improving access to data about where and when people can take part in physical activity. This involves developing open standards, building data literacy and working collaboratively to evoke change across the sector.

Our focus on impact within these sector programmes helps to ensure the changes they inspire are sustainable. Organisations are motivated to help address the problem; showing impact through the programme helps to maintain that motivation.

Our focus on collective action within the programmes reduces the sense of risk felt by organisations, particularly companies, embarking on open ways of working for the first time. Becoming more open alone can feel risky; doing it at the same time as competitors feels like an opportunity.

Improving innovation in banking: Open Banking

Open Banking is a movement towards more open approaches to banking data.

These include customer account data being shared between banks and other service providers, and open data related to banking products, services and operations being published. In 2015, the ODI co-chaired the UK’s Open Banking Working Group (OBWG) at the request of HM Treasury. The group consisted of more than 200 industry experts from banking, data, consumer and business communities. The group published an Open Banking Standard to guide how banking data should be created, shared and used to help improve competition and efficiency, and stimulate innovation in the banking sector.

The subsequent Open Banking initiative is also driven by regulation such as the European Commission’s Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and intervention from the UK Treasury and Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The UK’s nine largest banks launched Open Banking in January 2018. The ODI continues to provide an expert critical voice in the developing UK implementation of Open Banking. We also support international governments and regulators as they look to learn from the UK’s experience in adopting similar principles within their own jurisdictions.

We have influenced similar interventions in Australia and New Zealand. We have been engaged by the The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to assist the Mexican Government to develop a roadmap for its own open banking initiative. We will be providing similar advisory services to the central bank in Ukraine.

Providing value to sectors

Our experience with sector programmes such as Open Banking and OpenActive has demonstrated that the ODI can provide value in sectors that wish to change to more open and more data-enabled ways of working.

We bring a unique combination of open and data expertise, experience with running sector programmes, and independence.

We have seen several different routes through which sector programmes can come into being.

These include through regulation, public sector or philanthropic investment, and from within the sector itself. Our model is to deliver these in partnership with domain experts and with those working with complementary types of organisations such as community groups.

Advocating for food security: GODAN Action

GODAN Action is a programme embedding data standards, measuring impact and growing capacity in open data in the agriculture and nutrition sector, funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).

The 3.5-year programme is focused on helping stakeholders to engage with and use the open data to support farmers in developing countries to increase yields, enhance their livelihoods and improve food security. It focuses on making better use of the available open data – namely weather data, land data and nutrition data – for achieving impact.

The ODI is contributing to creating guidelines and recommendations for standards for agriculture and nutrition data, working on methodologies to best measure the impact of the use of open data in the sector, and providing learning and training materials. In early 2018, already more than 1,000 people around the world had benefited from the eLearning course we have created so far, and 383 people had taken part in webinars. This helped strengthen the capacity of data producers, intermediaries and consumers to effectively and use open data in agriculture and nutrition.

How we effect change in sectors

Sector programmes do not succeed if they only focus on technical challenges. We draw on a range of activities to support effective change.

  • Strategic advice – identifying how data can help to achieve programme goals and how to measure success, for example
  • Policy development and guidance – scrutinising the interaction between general data governance practices and sector norms, for example
  • Technology development – creating appropriate data standards and the tools needed to support them • Research – from creating case studies of the role of data in the sector to rigorous impact evaluation
  • Training – including blended learning packages that combine face-to-face, eLearning and webinars
  • Running competitions and acceleration programmes – to foster innovation in the sector
  • Building communities within the sector – and communicating clearly with them.

To achieve change, we need to advocate for it. But it is also necessary to ensure those arguments are based on practical experience; that organisations are equipped with the support, tools and capacity they need to adopt the changes we advocate for; and that we speak the language of the organisations whose behaviour we wish to change.

Data Ethics Canvas

As we investigated the debates over data ethics, we discovered the need for a tool to help organisations, teams and individuals understand and make more ethical decisions about data collection, sharing and use.

We developed the Data Ethics Canvas to meet this need and published the first iteration in August 2017, attracting interest from existing contacts such as a UK retailer, a network of US city chief data officers and the Gates Foundation. We are using it to help partners make decisions in our delivery projects. In 2018 we published a new iteration alongside workshop designs to generate wider use across the network.

Our practical advocacy is made up of three types of activities:

  • advocacy that raises awareness of the issues with the organisations who need to take action; this includes framing the arguments, targeting the right people, and communicating with them in ways that change behaviour
  • tools that lead organisations through the steps they need to take; these include design tools that help structure exploration and discussion of an issue (such as the Data Ethics Canvas) and acting tools that provide support for the activities people need to take part in (such as those in the ODI Toolbox)
  • learning that enables organisations to pick the best course of action; this includes gathering evidence about the growing body of research and practice to identify what works and sharing that knowledge through in-person and online training.

We need to understand the people and organisations we seek to change, their experiences and challenges. Our practical advocacy includes working with organisations – from multinational companies and governments to startups and cities – which enables us to learn about what they, and organisations like them, need.

Developing the Data Maturity Model with Defra

The open data maturity model is a tool to help organisations assess their capabilities as a publisher and consumer of open data.

Based on our experience of supporting a wide range of organisations, and informed by the needs of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) open data programme, the model explores how an organisation approaches data and knowledge management, community engagement and its data strategy around the use of data. The model is supported by a self-assessment tool, Open Data Pathway, that allows any organisation to undertake an assessment, plan a roadmap for improvement, and benchmark themselves against other organisations.

The model and assessment tool has been used by Defra to benchmark its capabilities during initiation of its open data programme. It was adopted and used by the public sector in Queensland to inform its open data strategy and informed the data quality framework for the Australian government. It has also been used to design the Open Data Charter adoption and implementation roadmap.

The self assessment tool has been improved by our node, ODI Queensland, to provide additional country-level benchmarking. We have also used the model to support commercial organisations in improving both their open data practice and internal data governance frameworks. Collectively, the model is being used to inform decision making around improving organisational approaches to maximising value from data across the data spectrum.

People in both the public and private sector are looking for ways to become more innovative, harness data’s potential to improve decision making, and make processes more efficient.

Yet these innovators often feel isolated within their own organisation, or don’t know where to go to access support and find inspiration. They need to be equipped with the skills to manage change, engage with stakeholders, advocate and communicate their vision, and translate data into impact.

At the ODI, we believe that today’s complex problems are best solved through collaboration and network thinking. Peer networks help us to deliver support while extending our reach. Network members benefit from being connected with a group of peers facing similar challenges, and from learning through exchanging stories of both success and failure.

The existing peer networks that are particularly important to us include:

  • corporate partners with whom we work through three year relationships
  • corporate members who pay an annual subscription to be kept up to date and attend quarterly events
  • nodes who work locally, around the world, to advance our common vision
  • open data leaders who have been part of our Open Data Leaders Network
  • fellows who use the ODI as a base for their research and development

Open Data Leaders Network

The Open Data Leaders Network supports a peer network of data pioneers in governments from all around the world.

We aim to improve the capacity of governments to solve problems through data by promoting shared learning on topics such as managing change, implementing successful data strategies, innovation methods, measuring impact, and the latest tools and data-driven technology.

To date we have reached government leaders from 43 countries, representing both national and subnational levels. We bring them together for a week of face-to-face training, discussion, sharing and exchange visits – and stay engaged throughout their progress to offer advice, introductions or opportunities to profile their initiatives.

This approach helps to promote good shared practices globally, while providing encouragement and motivation to the individual leaders.

Other peer networks emerge around sectors or shared challenges, or already exist.

For example, groups of organisations within particular sectors are brought together through our sector programmes. There are opportunities to use peer networks to bring together and influence other organisations such as tech giants, big consultancies, academics, or consumer rights groups.

Our methods

We see each of these as a peer network, and aim to coordinate them with a similar methodology, adapted to the needs of each group. We:

  1. act as or support a convenor for the group
  2. build relationships through face-to-face and virtual engagement using platforms that enable members to self-organise, engage others and take ownership over actions
  3. promote network thinking among participants, and opportunities for intentional learning to exchange experience and lessons
  4. encourage peers to collaborate on outputs that build their external credibility and influence as well as cementing relationships
  5. intentionally monitor and evaluate network outputs and outcomes at both individual and institutional levels

Sainsbury’s Mentoring Circle

As one of the UK’s largest retailers, Sainsbury’s and its suppliers collect large volumes of data related to the products it stocks, the value chains involved in producing them and the customers who buy them.

To help Sainsbury’s harness the potential of data, we designed and executed the Sainsbury’s Data Mentoring Circle. Running for 12 months, the ODI delivered quarterly workshops to provide a unique environment for Sainsbury’s staff and some of its top suppliers to convene outside their regular commercial interactions to collaborate on approaches to using data more effectively.

The workshops focused on the topics of data advocacy, data strategy, connecting data and sharing data; we also developed a bespoke set of eLearning modules that focused on sharing value chain data more widely to promote transparency and openness. This led them to explore pilot projects to improve the use of data in their value chain.