The Business Opportunity in Open Data

In the cultural sector, there are a new wave of organisations who are exploring and interrogating their data more closely. Through an organisation I run called CultureCode, last year I ran a programme asking cultural organisations to open their data with an attribution license, to allow a group of highly skilled developers and creative technologists to play and create prototypes. Simply opening their data was never going to be enough, we needed to create an incentive for the developers to interact with the data and we did this through offering prizes at a dedicated hackathon. The event was a tremendous success, as cultural organisations opened their eyes and minds to some of the possibilities that exist when being more open and allowing developers a share in some of the assets they owned.

It seems that everywhere you turn at the moment, people are discussing data – big data, open data, data protection, data visualisations. The government believes it will be one of the main ‘technologies’ that will help to drive the economy and lift it out of its current slump. All well and good, but what does it really mean? In reality, there are very few organisations who have harnessed the wealth of data now available to them to positively impact on their bottom line. Most people, when they think about products and prototypes you can create from open data, think of apps, but lets be honest, how many apps actually wash their face, let alone make a profit?

This was one of the many conundrums we encountered when we embarked on the journey to create and curate a useful and effective programme for future data innovators. What we uncovered was that there are case studies and there are organisations using data to not only effectively inform their operations but to build services, products and ultimately profit for their own coffers. At first, they may not be so obvious, but they do exist. In the main though, it is clear to me that we are on the cusp of something that could be quite magical. The Open Data Movement builds trust through transparency, creates opportunities for more robust predictions of future trends, creates opportunities for new collaborations and realisations through symbiotic data mixing and gives people a democratic opportunity to create products for their community, to react and interact to information that interests them for whatever reason. What’s not to love about that?

Data is the lifeblood of our modern technologised society. It tracks and evidences – providing the basis for decision-making and intelligence. The open data initiatives that are starting to span the globe are creating an environment where this once hidden data layer can be exploited by all to create new forms of value, giving business the opportunity to build services and products based upon the data produced. At the workshop we will show people how to build an effective business model from open data, how to augment products they currently have on the market and how to find funding for their data driven business models. This is a pilot programme, the first of its kind in the UK and as we all start to better understand this ever changing landscape, FutureEverything will continue to adapt and iterate to ensure Manchester is at the cutting edge of data innovation.

The Business of Open Data masterclass will take place on 19 March 2013. The FutureEverything Summit will also feature sessions on open data and host open meetings of EU cities and organisations involved in various projects with them, such as CitySDK.

Click here to sign up for the Business Opportunity in Open Data Masterclass. The event is free and supported by the European Regional Development Fund and MIDAS.

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