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The rise of open data driven businesses in emerging markets

Alla Morrison's picture
Also available in: 中文 | العربية | Español | Français


Mapping traffic flows using real time data.

Key findings --

  • Many new data companies have emerged around the world in the last few years. Of these companies, the majority use some form of government data.
  • There are a large number of data companies in sectors with high social impact and tremendous development opportunities.
  • An actionable pipeline of data-driven companies exists in Latin America and in Asia. The most desired type of financing is equity, followed by quasi-equity in the amounts ranging from $100,000 to $5 million, with averages of between $2 and $3 million depending on the region. The total estimated need for financing may exceed $400 million.
The economic value of open data is no longer a hypothesis
How can one make money with open data which is akin to air – free and open to everyone? Should the World Bank Group be in the catalyzer role for a sector that is just emerging?  And if so, what set of interventions would be the most effective? Can promoting open data-driven businesses contribute to the World Bank Group’s twin goals of fighting poverty and boosting shared prosperity?

These questions have been top of the mind since the World Bank Open Finances team convened a group of open data entrepreneurs from across Latin America to share their business models, success stories and challenges at the Open Data Business Models workshop in Uruguay in June 2013. We were in Uruguay to find out whether open data could lead to the creation of sustainable new businesses and jobs. To do so, we tested a couple of hypotheses: open data has economic value, beyond the benefits of increased transparency and accountability; and open data companies with sustainable business models already exist in emerging economies.

The Data Revolution is Here: How is Open Data Changing the Private Sector?

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

How do you take the same data that everybody has access to and convert it into a billion dollar business? When do you look at all the data in the world and say you want more (and that you are going to collect it like no one has done before)? How do you stop worrying about open data, and begin solving development challenges instead? Who is doing what with open data and how and why?

उनकी वाणी में बोलना – “विश्व बैंक समूह के वित्त” बहुभाषी हो गया है

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

हमारी दुनिया आँकड़ों की बढ़ती हुई मात्रा से भरी हुई है, परन्तु संभावित दर्शकों के लिए ये आँकड़े कम उपयोगी होते हैं जिसका सबसे स्वाभाभिक कारण है - आँकड़े उनकी भाषा ही नहीं बोलते हैं।

Speaking in Their Voice – World Bank Group Finances Goes Multilingual

Prasanna Lal Das's picture



Our world is awash with increasing amounts of data, but potential audiences for this data remain under-served for the most obvious of reasons - the data just doesn’t speak their language.

This has been true for the data on the World Bank Group Finances website which has only ‘spoken’ English since it was launched. Yes, we should have done this earlier but the website, and its associated open datasets, are now available in 5 new additional languages - Chinese, French, Hindi, Russian, and Spanish . The mobile app has been available for some time in 9 languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Indonesian Bahasa, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish) and the new release of the website is in line with the program’s quest to include new audiences and communities in the use and dissemination of open financial data. 

Liberen Los Datos: Supporting Entrepreneurial Open Data Do-Gooders

Sandra Moscoso's picture
Also available in: Español | Français | 中文 | العربية

The open data community is chock-full of do-gooders. 
 
There are "open" data-driven applications that track government legislation in the US, tools that help calculate taxi fares in Bogota, Colombia, applications that track how tax payer funds are spent in the UK, the state of school sanitation in Nepal, and many more. 
 
It's clear that innovators are out there and full of terrific ideas about how to help their fellow citizens by harnessing public data. The question is, how can more of these projects follow examples like GovTrack and transition from hobby to successful, sustainable business models? And while there may be technical talent out there, what about entrepreneurial skills? How many data rockstars out there also have the "courage to create a business"?
 

Scenes from the DC big data dive - the final report

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

DC Big Data Exploration Final ReportThe final report from the Big Data for International Development DataDive came out a few days ago (see below) and the obvious question is what's next? Sure, the DataDive was a success in terms of the number and caliber of people that participated, the ambition and scope of the problems they worked on (mostly around better/faster/cheaper poverty measurement, and more effective/proactive fight against fraud and corruption), and the results that were achieved in a very short span of time (showing fairly conclusively that big data based approaches can be effectively applied in the context of international development). The report itself points out a few next steps (a data competition, specific action items against each project that the teams worked on, the need to embrace new types of data skills and techniques, and continued effort to open new and more diverse data from both private and public sources) but here is a look at some other themes that emerged during the dive that are probably also worth thinking about -

Open for business - open data gets serious

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

Open data for business is suddenly the rage. The Economist calls it the new goldmine, the new open data policy released by the US government explicitly links open data with 'entrepreneurship and economic growth', a Capgemini report recently valued the impact of open data on the EU27 economy at 32 billion Euros in 2010, other estimates put the potential of open data in Europe at 180 billion a year, McKinsey valued health data alone at $350 billion annually - the numbers are eye-popping and 'no one has a clue what breakthroughs open data will allow'. The conversation around open data has definitely shifted beyond transparency, accountability, and civic engagement.

Understanding the Demand for Open Financial Data

Samuel Lee's picture

Image Credit: World Bank Flickr

Why worry about the demand for open data? 

When it comes to open data, much has been done around what we can publish, but much more can be done on identifying what others might need and want. Many open data initiatives have been started as supply-driven efforts seeking to increase transparency and leverage new information dissemination technologies - and that’s been a good way to start. However, being supply-driven is not the only way forward – a genuinely demand-driven approach would allow data providers to respond to, rather than anticipate, the data needs of users. 

 

So what is the demand for open data? This is a simple question that is difficult to answer. Unearthing even elements of the answer would help to increase understanding, inform the continued practical growth of open data efforts and activities, and hopefully result in more relevant, accessible, and widely-used data. 

Scenes from a Dive - what’s big data got to do with fighting poverty and fraud?

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

World Bank Data Dive 2013

Photo Credit: Neil Fantom

A more detailed recap will follow soon but here’s a very quick hats off to the about 150 data scientists, civic hackers, visual analytics savants, poverty specialists, and fraud/anti-corruption experts that made the Big Data Exploration at Washington DC over the weekend such an eye-opener.

Why DC is the place to be this weekend if you are interested in big data for development

Prasanna Lal Das's picture

If you haven’t registered yet for the Big Data Exploration event at the World Bank on March 15-17, you really should. After stops in Venice, Vienna, and a pre-event at Washington DC, data divers assemble at DC this weekend to take another crack at issues related to poverty measurement, plus fraud/anti-corruption in operations and to demonstrate whether and how practitioners can use big/open data to get results for traditionally knotty development problems (which are relatively difficult or expensive to resolve using standard techniques).

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