Which companies are using Open Data, and how are they related?

The GovLab Embarks to Expand Open Data 500 Study in Collaboration with Graduate Business School of Columbia University

Two years ago the GovLab developed the first-ever census of open data companies in the US: the Open Data 500. Today, in collaboration with the Graduate Business School of Columbia University, the GovLab is launching the next iteration which will have two goals. One, we will update and expand the Open Data 500 company profiles. Two, we we will solicit new insights through additional survey questions with the goal of increasing our understanding of the effect of open data on generating new businesses and its impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem of startups, investors and capital.

CONTEXT: As of 2016, the U.S. Government has released freely over 130,000 datasets on topics ranging from consumer complaints to trade to food access. Despite the increased supply of open data, little is known about the demand and who is using it for economic value creation; whether and how open data is fueling new areas of entrepreneurship. 

OPEN DATA 500: In 2014, GovLab launched the Open Data 500 (OD500), the first comprehensive study to identify and analyze U.S. companies that are using open government data to develop new products and services. Our goal was to identify at minimum 500 companies that use open data as a key business resource. The result was the first ever census of open data companies in the US. The Open Data 500 U.S. has since surpassed the initial goal of 500, and the number continues to grow to nearly 700 companies. Leveraging the OD500 dataset, the GovLab also completed an additional study in 2015 of how small- and medium-sized enterprises are using open data as a business asset. 

The OD500 Global Network: Several international partners have joined the GovLab to conduct similar efforts in their country within the context of the OD500 Global Network. Each partner organization uses the OD500 infrastructure and methodology, enabling them the to analyze the use of open data in their country in a manner that is both globally comparative and domestically specific. The network consists of AustraliaCanadaItalyMexico and South Korea. If you have an interest in joining the Network, contact us at: opendata500@thegovlab.org.

NEW AND EXPANDED STUDY: Since the initial release of our findings we have seen a rapid increase in data supply and use. To take stock of latest developments and to increase our understanding of the impact of open data across the larger entrepreneurial community, the GovLab in collaboration with Columbia Business School is revisiting the existing OD500 dataset. During the summer of 2016, companies currently listed in our database will be sent a short survey. In addition, we hope to identify additional companies to add to our growing list of open data companies. 

Led by Sheena S. Iyengar, S. T. Lee Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, and Patrick Bergemann, a Postdoctoral Research Scholar, the survey expansion takes place within the mandate of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Opening Governance.

Professor Iyengar: “Despite the release of tens of thousands of government datasets, there is currently no understanding of the impact this information is having on innovation, entrepreneurship and the economy in general. Through the expansion of the Open Data 500, we can finally begin to assess these potentially large effects and connect public policy with real economic outcomes.”

“The original Open Data 500 study showed that open data is already a major national resource and business driver. With our survey expansion, we want to better understand how and under what conditions open data really works. We plan to share insights with government, businesses and policymakers in order to improve the release of more and better data,” says Stefaan Verhulst, co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer of the GovLab at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, where he is responsible for building a research foundation on how to transform governance using advances in science and technology.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: 

Does your company use open government data as a key business resource? If so, please contact us at opendata500@thegovlab.org. We are interested in hearing from you and including your company in our directory of open data companies.

If you are an open data researcher and/or you have a question you would like to pose to open data companies, please write to us at opendata500@thegovlab.org.

The GovLab is an action research organization based at NYU Tandon School of Engineering with a mission to improve people’s lives by changing the way we govern. Our goal is to strengthen the ability of institutions – including but not limited to governments – and people to work more openly, collaboratively, effectively and legitimately to make better decisions and solve public problems.

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