How are Italian Companies Embracing Open Data?

The GovLab and FBK Launch OD200 Italy, the First and Only Comprehensive Mapping of Open Data Use in Italy

open-data-200-italy (1)Are companies embracing the use of open government data? How, why and what data is being leveraged? To answer these questions, the GovLab started a project three years ago, Open Data 500, to map and assess — in a comparative manner, across sectors and countries — the private sector’s use of open data to develop new products and services, and create social value.

Today we are launching Open Data 200 Italy, in partnership with Fondazione Bruno Kessler, which seeks to showcase the breadth and depth of companies using open data in Italy.

OD200 Italy is the first and only platform to map the use of open data by companies in Italy. The GovLab and FBK gathered and analyzed open data usage information via a detailed questionnaire. The objective was to map and assess the use of open data by 200 companies. To date, 55 companies across Italy have completed the survey. Several dozen other companies have partially completed the questionnaire and expect to deliver final responses by year-end. The GovLab and FBK identified a universe of approximately 300 companies and will keep the survey open to allow more companies to participate.

“The future is now with open data,” said Dr. Francesca De Chiara, Researcher at the Digital Commons Lab within Fondazione Bruno Kessler and a Fellow at The GovLab. “We’re very excited to launch OD200 Italy and showcase how Italian companies are forging new pathways not only in how they’re using the data for business, but in the public value they’re adding from the data.”

Our findings show there is a growing ecosystem around open data in Italy that goes beyond traditional open data advocates. From data and technology companies; to media, software and communications firms; as well as tourism, finance, health, transportation, and environmental entities, the landscape of private enterprises seeking to utilize and ultimately leverage open data is becoming vast and varied. Many of these companies are startups, seeking to discover or unlock the next great innovation; others are small, medium and microenterprises, seeking to create new industries or solve pressing public problems.

The OD200 Italy project shows the diversity of data being used, which makes it necessary to keep open data broad and sustained. Companies using open data to develop new products and services — be it cadastral or land use data, population data, information about education or health or another area — are able to position themselves as leading edge. Expanding this open data niche helps them gain greater visibility within their respective industries as well. Companies’ use of open data also spurs greater demand for the resource, incentivizing government entities such as the Agency for Digital Italy, which provides data OD200 Italy survey respondents accessed, to release an even greater supply of open data. The inverse is also true: as corporations become more dependent on open data, the question for open data providers becomes how to sustain the information.

“The merits and use of open data for businesses are often praised but not supported by evidence. OD200 Italy is a great contribution to the evidence base of who, how and why corporations are leveraging open data,” said Stefaan Verhulst, Co-Founder of The GovLab and Chief Research and Development Officer. “Policy makers, practitioners and researchers can leverage the data generated by this initiative to improve the supply and use of open data, or to generate new insights. As such, OD200 Italy is a new open data set on open data.”

OD200 Italy is the latest extension of the Open Data 500 Global Network, which The GovLab and other partners created to help member organizations within the network analyze how corporations use open data, from a domestic perspective and against a global landscape. Along with the United States, other participating countries in the global network include Mexico, Canada, Korea, and Australia.

To learn more about Open Data 200 Italy, and to participate in the questionnaire, visit italy.opendata500.com.

To find ways to collaborate within the Open Data 500 Global Network and create your own OD500 initiative, reach out to Stefaan Verhulst via stefaan@thegovlab.org.