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by Daniel Castro

Various reports have begun to capture the impact of data on the economy and society and explore the public policy implications. We help you find the most important ones.

Big data et objets connectés. Faire de la France un champion de la révolution numérique.” (“Big data and connected objects. Make France a champion of the digital revolution”) Institut Montaigne. 2015.

This report lays out four sets of proposals to help France establish itself as a European leader of the digital economy by capitalizing on the economic and social opportunities presented by big data and the Internet of Things. The proposals focus on leveraging France’s existing strengths, such as its internationally recognized scientific expertise and variety of creative startups, as well as coordinating the actions of public and private sector stakeholders. These goals of these proposals are: To extend data excellence and digital excellence throughout the economic fiber of France; To foster trust by strengthening security; To support strong digital governance at home, and the influence of France abroad; and To respond to the demand for competent professionals to work in big data and the Internet of Things. Read the English summary.

Data-Driven Innovation: Big Data for Growth and Well Being.” Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2015.

This report explored how countries could secure greater economic and social benefits of data analytics by better encouraging investment in big data. In particular, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development recommends countries expand and improve data science education and make it easy for data to flow across borders. Additionally, the report recommends that countries encourage companies outside the information and communication technology sector invest in incorporating data analytics into business process.

The Data Revolution — Finding the Missing Millions.” Overseas Development Institute. 2015.

The Overseas Development Institute lays out the argument that despite the fact that many governments have tools to increase their populations’ health and raise families out of poverty, a lack of data on the most marginalized populations prevents these tools from being effective. Furthermore, when this data does exist, it is often of poor quality. This report offers solutions for governments seeking to collect more data and make better use of existing data to improve their services to the communities they represent.

Open Data Barometer.” World Wide Web Foundation. 2015.

The second edition of the Open Data Barometer ranks 86 world governments in terms of open data readiness, implementation and impact. The report highlights an increasing divide between countries that have been able to sustain open data initiatives and countries where open data efforts have been stagnant or even moved backwards. For 2014-2015, the UK was ranked the most transparent in terms of public access to government data, with the United States in second place.

Industrial Internet of Things: Unleashing the Potential of Connected Products and Services.” World Economic Forum. 2015.

This report contains the research findings from the the Industrial Internet Initiative that was launched at the World Economic Forum’s 2014 meeting by the Forum’s IT Governors. The report outlines the opportunities and benefits that makes the industrial internet transformative and prescribes recommendations to overcome the challenges of realizing its full potential.

Data-Driven Development: Pathways for Progress.” World Economic Forum. 2015.

This report defines several priorities for data-driven development: establish access to private sector data, develop common frameworks to strengthen data flows, build capacity across all levels, and recognize individuals as both producers and consumers of data. The report provides methods of accomplishing these tasks so data can be used to drive sustainable development.

Big Data in Action for Development.” World Bank and SecondMuse. 2014.

This report, coauthored by the World Bank and SecondMuse, an innovation and collaboration agency, explores the potential for data to transform socioeconomic development. The report presents a variety of case studies that examine the challenges, opportunities, and innovations in the development sector put forth by “big data”.

A World that Counts: Mobilising the Data Revolution for Sustainable Development.” UN Secretary General’s Independent Expert Advisory Group on a Data Revolution for Sustainable Development. 2014.

This report examines the large role data can play in achieving the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, provided governments around the world address certain challenges associated with the rapid increase of quantity and quality of data becoming available. The report also suggests several actions that can be taken fill the gaps between developed and developing countries, between information-rich and information-poor people, and between the private and public sectors to prevent and risks of harm and abuses of human rights from growing.

Fostering Innovation, Creating Jobs, Driving Better Decisions: The Value of Government Data.” U.S. Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration. 2014.

This report focuses on the value of statistical data produced by federal agencies and details the Department of Commerce’s role in supporting data-driven decision making in the public and private sectors alike. The report also details the department’s progress on releasing open data so far and estimates the monetary value government data can add to private sector firms.

Data Flood: Helping the Navy Address the Rising Tide of Sensor Information.” RAND Corporation. 2014.

This report details the current state of the U.S. Navy’s data collection, storage, and analysis. The report identifies challenges the Navy faces in implementing better data initiatives and offers a series of recommendations centering around the Navy’s use of cloud computing and storage.

The Rise of Data Poverty in America.” The Center for Data Innovation. 2014.

Data-driven innovations offer enormous opportunities to advance important societal goals. However, to take advantage of these opportunities, individuals must have access to high-quality data about themselves and their communities. If certain groups routinely do not have data collected about them, their problems may be overlooked and their communities held back in spite of progress elsewhere. Given this risk, policymakers should begin a concerted effort to address the “data divide”—the social and economic inequalities that may result from a lack of collection or use of data about individuals or communities.

State Open Data Policies and Portals.” The Center for Data Innovation. 2014.

This report provides a snapshot of states’ efforts to create open data policies and portals and ranks states on their progress. States creating new open data policies or portals, or refreshing old ones, have many opportunities to learn from the experiences of early adopters in order to fully realize the benefits of data-driven innovation.

Impacts of the Digital Ocean on Education.” Pearson. 2014.

This report offers a vision for how data and analysis will change teaching, learning, and assessment, and ultimately affect educational outcomes in the future. It enumerates the various emerging sources of education data and discusses how this data will enable educators to conduct longitudinal analysis of students, track student information outside the context of assessments, and make targeted interventions in near-real time. The report also offers a step-by-step guide to using data to make decisions in the context of education, as well as an overview of the challenges associated with data-driven education, such as confusing data with knowledge.

Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values.” Executive Office of the President. 2014.

This report examines the way big data will affect government, business, and the public in the future. It questions the plausibility of attempting to control data collection, instead recommending controls on access and use where necessary. It recommends advancing the Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights and updating the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and offers guidance on reducing discrimination and making the government’s own data publicly available.

Big Data and Privacy: A Technological Perspective.” President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 2014.

This report examines current technologies for managing and analyzing data, as well as techniques to preserve privacy, such as de-identification. It recommends that policy focus on specific harmful uses of big data and that policy specify desired outcomes rather than mechanisms to achieve those outcomes, in order to prevent policy from becoming obsolete as new technologies arise.

100 Data Innovations.” The Center for Data Innovation. 2014

Businesses, government agencies, and non-profits in countries around the world are transforming virtually every facet of the economy and society through innovative uses of data. These changes, brought about by new technologies and techniques for collecting, storing, analyzing, disseminating, and visualizing data, are improving the quality of life for billions of individuals around the world, opening up new economic opportunities, and creating more efficient and effective governments. This list provides a sampling, in no particular order, of some of the most interesting and important contributions data-driven innovations have made in the past year.

Transforming Data to Information in Service of Learning.” State Educational Technology Directors Association. 2013.

This report surveys current K-12 data standards and interoperability initiatives and provides recommendations for how education leaders can leverage interoperability efforts to improve teaching and learning. The report recommends developing a long-term roadmap for educational technology interoperability and building interoperability provisions into state and district procurement processes.

Paving the Way for Personalized Medicine.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 2013.

This report describes the FDA’s vision for the future of personalized medicine and some of its efforts to modernize its policies and methodologies to promote the growth of the field. The report provides an in-depth exploration of the regulatory environment that affects personalized medicine and provides summaries of the series of guidances it released that relate to personalized medicine.

Seizing the Data Opportunity.” UK Government. 2013.

This report presents the UK government’s strategy around building its data and analytics capabilities. The report covers the three major areas of skills, data infrastructure, and data sharing, and discusses some of the UK government’s progress and plans for the future in these areas.

Big Data Road Map.” The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry. 2013.

This report establishes a four-year plan to harness “big data” in the UK health care system, with the goal of improving patient care, increasing UK National Institute of Health cost-effectiveness and spurring investment in the UK pharmaceutical industry. The report outlines the opportunities and challenges associated with the influx of large quantities of data, and gives an overview of the UK’s position in this area to date.

From Data to Decisions III: Lessons from Early Analytics Programs.” Partnership for Public Service and IBM Center for The Business of Government. 2013.

This report examines how early government analytics programs launched and grew, with case studies from numerous areas of government. The report offers a series of recommendations for future analytics programs, concerning inter-agency collaboration, cost estimation, communication, encouraging data use and employee training.

The Internet of Things.” The Center for Data Innovation. 2013.

This report showcases the diversity of devices that make up the Internet of Things today, the potential application these devices may have for addressing different real-world problems, big and small, and the policy principles that will help government leaders maximize the benefits enabled by these new technologies.

Data Innovation 101: An Introduction to the Technologies and Policies Behind Data-Driven Innovation.” The Center for Data Innovation. 2013.

New technologies have made it easier and cheaper to collect, store, manipulate, analyze, use, and disseminate data. But while the potential for vastly more data-driven innovation exists, many organizations have been slow to adopt these technologies. Policymakers around the world should do more to spur data-driven innovation in both the public and private sectors.

Open Data: Unlocking Innovation and Performance with Liquid Information.” McKinsey Global Institute. 2013.

This report investigates the value and opportunities of open data in education, transportation, consumer products, electricity, oil and gas, health care, and consumer finance. It estimates that these seven sectors alone could generate $3 trillion in additional value from open data. The report also explores business opportunities in these sectors and calls on governments to implement policies to set standards and allay concerns over data misuse.

Utilities and Big Data: Accelerating the Drive to Value.” Oracle, 2013.

This report presents the results of a survey conducted among 150 North American senior electrical utility executives. It concludes that companies’ preparedness to handle the influx of “big data” has increased nearly twofold in the last year, but that the majority of companies are still underprepared. It also explores the distribution over companies of different uses of data, such as providing customers with usage patterns and establishing new pricing programs. The report stresses the value of cloud-based data management solutions and suggests working with third parties to overcome the perceived data science expertise gap among utility companies.

Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: From Collection to Usage.” World Economic Forum. 2013.

This report makes broad recommendations for rethinking policies around personal data usage, specifically with regard to its role in encouraging innovation. The report explores in general terms a new approach to personal data policy that stresses technological open-endedness and compromise between the security and free flow of data. It repeatedly stresses the need for case-based rather than overarching regulations on data collection, noting that “Data itself does not create value or cause problems; its use does.”

Transforming Health Care Through Big Data.” The Institute for Health Technology Transformation. 2013.

This report presents innovative present uses and future applications of heathcare data, such as comparative effectiveness research to reduce variations in care and more advanced clinical decision support to offer better treatment recommendations. Areas of focus include healthcare quality, operational efficiency and fraud detection, as well as an extensive section on general challenges the health industry will face in implementing data-driven initiatives.

Data-Driven Innovation, A Guide for Policymakers: Understanding and Enabling the Economic and Social Value of Data.” Software Information and Industry Association. 2013.

This report provides case studies from various industries on data-driven innovation and offers policymakers a series of software industry-oriented recommendations in areas including privacy, data minimization, open standards, technology neutrality and public-private partnerships. The report offers a central exhortation for policymakers to “avoid creating broad policies that curb data collection and analysis.”

Exploring Data-Driven Innovation as a New Source of Growth.” OECD. 2013.

This report provides examples of potential big data initiatives that could promote cost savings and productivity in advertising, health care, utilities, transport and government. It also gives an overview of some of the policy implications of these initiatives, specifically in the areas of privacy, public data access, workforce skills, IT infrastructure and measurement standards.

At the Big Data Crossroads: turning towards a smarter travel experience.” Thomas H. Davenport, Amadeus IT Group. 2013.

This report provides an overview of opportunities from large volume, unstructured data in the travel industry. It presents seven case studies that highlight present and future capabilities in the areas of revenue management, customer relationship management, corporate travel planning, internal operations and financial management in the travel industry.

Is Big Data a Big Deal for State Governments?” National Association of State CIOs. 2012.

This report lays out a definition of “big data” and an overview of areas where it is of particular concern to state government officials. It advocates the implementation of a robust data governance program to keep big data initiatives under control and an embrace of public-private partnerships in the pursuit of large-scale data integration. The report ends with a series of calls to action for state CIOs that include urgings to avoid data silos and to focus at first on smaller, easily completed big data initiatives.

Demystifying Big Data: A Practical Guide to Transforming the Business of Government.” TechAmerica Foundation. 2012.

This report seeks to establish a working definition of the term “Big Data” and provides a series of case studies to illustrate the medium-term opportunities and challenges government agencies will face in a data-rich environment. It also provides a basic technical and political roadmap for the implementation of big data initiatives in government, and offers talent, R&D and procurement-based strategies for overcoming data initiative implementation obstacles.

The Real World Use of Big Data.” IBM and the University of Oxford Said School of Business. 2012.

This report provides an overview of current “big data” deployments in large organizations, along with some guidelines for the development of these projects within a typical corporate structure. It also attempts to clarify and condense the many different connotations “big data” has developed in recent years. The report finds that only 28% of organizations have actually implemented a “big data” business initiative, and recommends a pragmatic development plan that begins with business opportunities identified through external data sources and proceeds through gradual development of big data technology capacity.

Big Data Analytics Deep Dive: Deriving Meaning From The Data Explosion.” David S. Linthicum, Infoworld.com. 2012.

This report offers an overview of the field of big data analysis, including the emerging data sources that feed it and the cloud computing infrastructure that serves as its foundation. The report covers business use cases of big data analytics in retail, transportation, health care and business intelligence, as well as diagrams illustrating the relationships between different technological and human parts of a big data analytics apparatus.

Big Data, Bigger Opportunities: Plans and Preparedness for the Data Deluge.” Oracle. 2012.

This report probes the preparedness of utility companies for the challenges of big data and smart grids. The report finds that executives rank their companies as relatively well-prepared (6.7 out of 10) on average, and that that number increases significantly with the use of meter data management systems (MDMs). The report recommends the use of MDMS and makes other technical recommendations for companies hoping to implement better analytics on their smart grid data or better organizational reporting systems to ensure that the data are used in business decisions.

Big Data: The Next Frontier For Innovation, Competition and Productivity.” McKinsey Global Institute. 2011.

This report explores the potential of big data to drive economic growth in the global economy. It details the use of big data in promoting transparency, customization, automation, innovation and experimentation within organizations. It offers forecasts on the potential impact of big data in sectors such as retail, manufacturing, U.S. health care and E.U. public sector administration. After describing the challenges facing big data technology adoption in these sectors, including organizational change and the imminent shortage of deep analytical talent, it recommends that policymakers take a proactive approach to big data that will promote innovation and encourage education initiatives to overcome the talent shortage.

“Steps Toward Large Scale Data Integration In The Sciences.” Scott Weidman and Thomas Arrison, National Research Council. 2010.

This report summarizes a National Research Council (NRC) workshop that was convened to identify best practices in large-scale data integration in the sciences, and includes a discussion of relevant technologies. The report covers opportunities and challenges in formulating data integration policies with case studies from physics, biology, chemistry, Earth sciences, satellite imagery, astronomy, geospatial data, and medicine.

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