Is it time for a Declaration of Data Leadership?

Wed, 2020-03-04 22:43 -- Adam Beck

Last year at Smart Cities Week Australia we ran a snap pole during one of the 'Data Room' break out sessions that tackled a range of data topics, such as privacy and governance. More than 40 people participated in the short survey, from a variety of sectors, including multiple cities, state agencies and private sector experts.

The results were quite stunning - and not in a positive way. We asked delegates to score (out of 10) Australia's status on some key issues, and included the following:

  1. We understand the 'purpose' of data... totes (4.5/10)
  2. We are a global leader in data 'privacy', BOOM! (3.4/10)
  3. Yup, 'ethics' is at the heart of our use of data (4.6/10)
  4. Data 'governance'? We absolutely got this... (2.8/10)

The results of the scoring for each question is averaged above, painting a sobering picture of our capacity to be leading on core data topics.

Whilst only a snapshot at a moment in time, these results continue to emerge. Just earlier this week during a networking and knowledge exchange session between 13 cities we conducted further survey work to understand current practices around data and information management.

Half of the group indicated their organisation had no data strategy, more than half do not share data and less than half consistently use data insights to shape policy and new investments. On the upside, open data practices were being advanced by most of the group, and in terms of priorities, most indicated 'data purpose' as being key.

So how do we enhance data and information management within our cities? What is needed, in addition to what we are currently doing, to provide greater impetus for data leadership?

This has led the Council to ask - "could cities benefit from a Declaration of Data Leadership?"

Could a 'north star' on data help an organisation build the conditions necessary for valuing data and embracing the insights it generates? Could such a commitment help build greater demand for data insights and action, and further stimulate opportunities throughout the supply chain like IoT, AI and civic innovation?

Well, this is exactly what we are exploring through theĀ Centre for Data Leadership.

But what might a Declaration look like, and what would its purpose be?

We are seeking your views on the idea of a Declaration of Data Leadership which contains some core principles to help shape a commitment-type document.

We welcome your participation in a short 5 minute survey, and in return we will provide you with the results for reference.