How to create the data experience

What does 2017 hold for open data initiatives?The Guardian asked four experts: “What does 2017 hold for the open data community? How will we see the open data ecosystem continue to grow in 2017?”

The experts see a wide and intriguing range of trends, possibilities and opportunities for you to consider:

  • A trend of “open models, the wide availability of pre-trained machine learning modeling systems which can be reused or repurposed.”
  • The effort to make data “useful and exciting” to citizens, businesses and communities by “creating a better experience of the tools people use to explore data” and publishing data “in a way people can relate to.”
  • Greater “algorithmic accountability: greater transparency around the algorithms that shape services and information.”
  • The ecosystem for “the open data community to work with civil society and demonstrate how information can be used to drive change and build trust across divisions in society.”

Like customer experience, we now have a great opportunity of using open source data and open data initiatives to create exceptional data experiences.

What does it mean to create a data experience? From an individual’s point-of-view, what makes using data an exciting and beneficial experience?

  • Data that is reliable, accessible and relevant.
  • Access to tools for more easily manipulating data, making data clearer, and providing better understanding.
  • Open models to simplify the vastness of open data.
  • Education for consumers and communities to determine if an open model is the best tool to help critical decision-making.
  • Ways to enable consumer preferences, grow data skills, and develop comfort with data-driven processes.

If we can meet these challenges, we can make open data a useful agent for change and progress. Yet, it’s not only about the openness of the data; it’s about being able to engage with different types of users and populations with a variety of differing needs and wants.

If we want to build trust and collaboration across our societies, we need to create a data experience that engages and excites people.

We need to democratize our global open data ecosystem to provide equal access, stimulate users to develop new skills, nurture comfort levels among data users, and realize success along the way. Only then can we create data enthusiasts among our citizens so they have an opportunity to reap the benefits of open data.