Help us map the benefits of open data

As a Communications Node, our primary purpose here at ODI Devon is to spread the word about open data and all the great things it can do for our economy, communities, individuals and environment.

We are a very enthusiastic bunch and have no trouble coming up with ideas for what benefits open data brings, however the other day during a catch up call one of us asked a question about a specific group – let’s call them “X” – of individuals and asked: what are the benefits of open data for “X”, and we were stumped.

It was about then that we realised a systematic, stakeholder group-by-stakeholder group, map of the benefits of open data would be really useful as we travelled around the county meeting different types of people, because we’d then know the best things to say to them.

Just after, it occurred to us that someone had probably done all this before, and we resolved to start researching.

Our first stop was, naturally, the ODI website. We see they have a bunch of open data stories and also some case studies, which contain some good examples (which we have stolen some of the content of) but they are organised as anecdotes (well, obviously!) rather than the structured thing we wanted.

As a Node we enjoy a good relationship with ODI HQ so a few tweets were exchanged and we were soon put in touch with their Head of Research, Tom Heath, who had an outline “Impact matrix” that looks interesting (and which we have also now stolen) and the lead technical architect for the Glasgow Future Cities demonstrator, Colin Birchenall, who also had some useful insights (which we have also stolen).

[There’s a theme developing here - Ed.]

Anyway, we have now started the process of putting all this stuff together, and thinking it through properly. It seems we are basically aiming at a simple list of stakeholder groups – citizens, families, small business, small charities, bigger businesses, councils, government departments etc – with at least one identified benefit for each, and the dependencies – the things that need to be in place for that benefit to be realised.

So here’s a spreadsheet showing what we mean. Please let us know if you can help us add rows or fill any blank (or not blank) cells in, by either:

  • Adding a comment to the spreadsheet (comments are enabled for all, but you can’t edit the spreadsheet proper)


Our aim is to run with this crowdsourced approach up to and including Open Data Camp before doing some final editing and refining – and, of course, sharing.