The massive impact on economic growth of open data in government


I was very pleased to see today’s launch of the report Open for Business: How Open Data Can Help Achieve the G20 Growth Target, from Nicholas Gruen’s Lateral Economics, commissioned by Omidyar Networks, the philanthropic organization of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

The report looks at the massive positive economic impact of governments adopting open data policies.

Source: Open for Business

The major figure from the report is that potential value from open data to the G20 nations is $2.6 trillion annually, or around 1.1% of GDP over the next 5 years. The major sectors where value accrues from open data policies are Education, Transport, Consumer Products, Electricity, Oil and Gas, Health Care, and Consumer Finance.

As the report explains:

The more data is opened, the more it can be used, reused, repurposed and built on—in combination with other data—for everyone’s benefit. As our economy and society become more knowledge-based, data are core assets, creating value in their own right and driving social and economic innovation, growth and development.

Opening data creates social and economic value in myriad ways by:

• Reducing costs in the provision of existing services both by government and private sector (i.e. doing the same for less cost);

• Enabling new services and improved quality of services; and

• Indirectly contributing to improvements in governance and government services through improved accountability and citizen involvement, both of which engender greater trust in government.

While the UK and US governments in particular are showing a lead in open data in government, there is still a long journey ahead in opening access to citizens’ information for these governments, and even more for others.

This report provides a compelling analysis of the economic benefits of this. Arguably the potential direct and indirect social benefits are even greater.

Examining the shifting government landscape clearly shows the value of open data. Government leaders must meet the real challenges of opening out data to tap that value, for everyone’s benefit.