2023 Year in Review

We are pleased to present this summary of the Industry Data for Society Partnership’s (IDSP) inaugural Year in Review. A full report is also available for download.

Launched in December 2022, the IDSP is a network of leading companies committed to making private sector data more open and accessible to address societal issues. This report provides an overview of the partnership’s activities and insights from the past year.

In this report, you will find out more about the backgrounds, motivations, and contributions of the IDSP, as well as a look at our future plans. We share how convening the IDSP has helped bring forward new insights, networks, and opportunities.

Our belief is that data is a powerful resource for accelerating the development of solutions to benefit society. By sharing datasets, insights, and expertise with researchers, policymakers, civil society, and other data practitioners, we aim to demonstrate the value of using private sector data to tackle critical global challenges including climate change, health, education, and inequity.

The context for our work is rapidly evolving and expanding. Data is increasingly recognized as a key resource and driver for economic growth, social development, and scientific discovery. However, data also poses significant challenges and risks, relating to privacy, security, quality, and governance. Moreover, data is often siloed, inaccessible, or underutilized, limiting its potential for public benefit. Therefore, there is a need for more open, collaborative, and responsible approaches to unlock valuable outcomes from data.

Collaboration is key to achieving our mission, as we cannot achieve our goals alone. We are grateful for the support and guidance of two organizations: The GovLab and the Open Data Institute (ODI). As affiliates of the partnership, they have provided invaluable advice, resources, and connections to shape and implement our data initiatives. Their contributions have also expanded our reach within the broader data community, enhancing our impact.

Our members represent a diverse range of industries and share a common vision and commitment to making data more open and accessible. Each has a unique story to tell about their journey towards more open data and the benefits and challenges they have encountered along the way.

Spotlight: Data for Local Environments Challenge

The Data for Local Environments Challenge was a key project of the IDSP in its inaugural year of partnership. This challenge focused on harnessing publicly available data to empower local governments in enhancing their environments.

The challenge was supported by rich and diverse datasets made available by IDSP members and was hosted in partnership with the ODI. These datasets provided a basis for participants to craft solutions, showcasing the potential of open data. The global resonance of the challenge was particularly noteworthy, as it drew involvement from 24 countries, spanning from Malawi to Sri Lanka.

The winning applications highlighted the following themes and opportunities for local governments globally:

  1. Datasets from both the public sector and the private sector can be leveraged to better understand environmental factors

While public sector datasets are often looked to as a source for energy analysis, the private sector is making strides to make sustainability data more accessible to advance research in addressing climate-related challenges. Local governments can use these datasets in combination with others for deeper analysis.

  1. Informative resources for local governments are increasingly open sourced, such as a framework for collating datasets

One of the biggest challenges faced by local governments can be collating and standardizing across datasets, including linking similar data points across data sources. Solutions from the winning teams were open-sourced for communities and researchers to leverage.

  1. Bringing diverse datasets together creates greater clarity for both citizens and local governments on the goals and progress

Siloed, sector-specific data can result in residents and officers struggling to understand their government’s progress to net-zero and to develop impactful solutions to reach their goals. Greater clarity and access to information increases citizen knowledge and allows residents and governments to work together more effectively.

  1. Data analysis skills can be leveraged from students, citizen scientists, researchers, and other sources of expertise, without necessarily needing to hire a full-time position in-house

A wide talent pipeline exists from which local governments can tap into for data analysis expertise. Many of the applicants were eager to work with local governments and the broader community to partner on the challenges and potential solutions.

  1. Advancing new ways to gather and disseminate data are critical to empowered communities

Innovative ways to integrate public participation in environmental conservation were highlighted, with some projects relying on members of the community for data collection. By involving the community directly in the gathering of data, this approach can inspire involvement, building the capacity of communities to gather data and see first-hand how it can lead to greater awareness and influence change.

Year in Review 2023

The Data for Local Environments Challenge was a key project of the IDSP in its inaugural year of partnership. To read more about the partnership, other initiatives, and future plans, download the full report.