We welcome the New Zealand Data Futures Forum final report – Harnessing the economic and social power of data – released on Monday 28 July. This is a good example of the public and private sectors collaborating to deliver positive change and sets out ambitious recommendations to derive value from New Zealand data.
Data has the potential to be an incredibly valuable resource for all New Zealander. It’s great to see the Government is focussing efforts in this area and that feedback from the private sector has been taken on board in this third paper.
We’re now in the third generation of the internet revolution which is all about big data. This data must be managed in an ethical manner and in a way that creates value and instills trust.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to open data and its innovation potential to address business, social, environmental and community issues. Already, globally we are seeing great potential for data to play a role in emergency management, weather patterns, tourism, geographic segmentation and customer trends – just to name a few. The opening up of London’s transport data through the London DataStore has been a good example that has seen many innovative uses developed.
Three out of the four foundations that underpin the report’s recommendations specifically place individuals and their comfort at the forefront. This indicates the Data Futures Forum has really listened to people’s concerns and that it is likely there will be a lot of opportunity for people to have ongoing input and feedback to ensure those foundations are upheld. Here in New Zealand we have an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage through a data-sharing ecosystem built on trust, control and inclusion.
The opening up of a data-sharing ecosystem has vast potential for small businesses, in terms of driving topline growth and productivity. There is much value to be gained using data to analyse trends such as customer numbers, purchase behaviour and target markets.
The report’s recommendation for an Independent Data Council will help drive open data across all sectors – not just government. And, a Chief Technology Officer could also be the champion on the Council and drive the data agenda from a technology perspective.
Lillian Grace, CEO Wiki New Zealand, said the key recommendations were definitely a step in the right direction.
“We are moving into uncharted territory with data and it is too early to draw a ring-fence around what is correct use and what is not, without risking stifling innovation. The Forum’s recommendation for an Independent Data Council that would be able to monitor, learn and adapt as we reach a social consensus on data use is especially valuable,” she said.
“It is an exciting time for data-driven innovation in New Zealand. There are many great efforts already underway and there is a strong willingness to collaborate throughout New Zealand’s data ecosystem,” Ms Grace said.