Jason Black
3 months ago
Jason Black
Project Manager

For the last five years I’ve been talking to anyone who’d listen about the benefits of public sector organisations making smarter use of their own data.

I emphasise the ‘of their own’ part, because the UK seems to have had a somewhat divergent approach to date.

On the one hand we’ve been strong champions of open data: but in a way that has often amounted to public sector bodies publishing their datasets in the vague hope that someone else might do something interesting with them.

On the other hand, we’ve been enthused by the notion of smart cities, investing millions of pounds in new technologies to give cities even more data… that they often have absolutely no idea how to use.

Now, I do, of course, acknowledge that there have been some great success stories in each of those fields.

But there’s a missing middle.

The missing part has been a widespread recognition by public sector organisations that they should be the primary consumers of their own data.

For years, journalists and commentators have semantically tortured themselves trying to decide if data is best understood as the new oil, fuel, or the fertile soil in which the seeds of innovation can thrive. Whatever the metaphor, the point is that data has value. It would be madness for public sector organisations to be the only ones not to benefit.