Across the world, significant time and resources are being invested in making government data accessible to all with the broad goal of improving people’s lives. The 2016 Open Data Barometer found that 79 out of 115 countries examined have an open data portal. As of September 2017, Data.gov, the United States’ open data portal, provides access to 302,614 datasets. Meanwhile, 54 countries across the globe have adopted the International Open Data Charter.
Evidence of open data’s impact—on improving governance, empowering citizens, creating economic opportunity, and solving public problems—is emerging and is largely encouraging.
Yet much of the potential value of open data remains untapped, in part because we often do not understand who is using open data or, more importantly, who is not using open data but could benefit from the insights it may generate. By identifying, prioritizing, segmenting, and engaging with the actual and future demand for open data in a systemic and systematic way, practitioners can ensure that open data is more targeted.
The GovLab’s Open Data Demand Assessment and Segmentation Methodology provides open data policymakers and practitioners with an approach for identifying, segmenting, and engaging with demand. This process specifically seeks to empower data champions within public agencies who want to improve their data’s ability to improve people’s lives. We narrowed our methodology to just six steps to enable open data champions to repeatedly map the current and future demand for open data within their country or city. Previous work examining the global impacts of open data at the GovLab and a six-month, hands-on project with the Inter-American Development Bank informed this methodology.