Following the Responsible Data for Humanitarian Response conference in The Hague, a multidisciplinary expert group convened at Leiden University's Living Lab for the launch of the Data Governance Project.
As the growth, reach and complexity of the data ecosystem continue to accelerate, so too does its potential to address some of humanity’s greatest challenges. From addressing climate change to achieving the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, a critical enabler for realising this potential is the exchange of data assets in new, collaborative ways. In particular, sharing data and data models currently held by the private sector holds transformative opportunities. Linking these assets with those of public, personal and academic origin, and making them widely accessible for social innovation, would greatly increase the richness of the space of data use for social good.
Despite its potential, sharing and using private sector data for transformative social impact remains limited, mainly because of the lack of governance frameworks that are focused on both the benefits and the risks of exchanging and using data. Existing approaches and principles regarding data use are often inadequate, not effective or innovative enough to accommodate the new opportunities and realities of a 21st century data ecology. Without clear, innovative and human-centered approaches to exchange and use of data for public good, the impact on people’s lives may be mixed, if not harmful.
To initiate the creation of legitimate and effective data governance frameworks that take into account the value proposition and risks of using the data for a public purpose and targeted audience, we propose the creation of a “network of networks” of data ethicists, data scientists and key stakeholders. By collectively focusing on a concrete use case, such a network would identify and share approaches, and leverage combined existing expertise toward developing innovative and trusted tools and governance mechanisms.
As a platform for sharing knowledge and matching expertise with particular demand, the Data Governance Project will stimulate new forms of collaboration between industry, civil society, government, academics, funders and frontline practitioners. In this way, the Data Governance Project aims to contribute to a trusted environment for collaboration.
In concrete terms, the Project will seek to work on a number of deliverables, based on an iterative and agile learning process that applies the principles of human-centered design. Goals for the coming year include:
· A platform for interaction between experts, practitioners, academics and policy makers focused on the governance of data use for the common good;
· A repository of research findings, white papers and digital assets aimed at addressing current knowledge gaps within the senior leadership and policy making communities;
· “Executive Education” tutorials on data ethics, data-sharing and -governance;
· Decision tree prototypes to guide practitioners and policymakers in navigating some of the complexities and uncertainties in the use of data across its lifecycle. This tool will leverage insights from the disciplines of adaptive risk management and contract law;
· A pool of data ethicists and data sharing experts, available to review specific issues and concerns emerging from the data for development arena;
· Events for community building and knowledge sharing, that will occur at multiple levels (senior leadership through front line practitioners).
Please visit our blog on data governance for social good here.
For more information on current efforts, or on how to join us in building 21st century data approaches that can unleash the sharing of private data for public good, please contact:
Jos Berens, LL.B, BA.
Project Coordinator – Data Governance Project