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Der ökonomische Mehrwert von Open Data

Über den ökonomischen Mehrwert, der durch Open Data geschaffen werden soll, wird viel diskutiert. Die EU-Kommission erwartet sich beispielswiese durch die Öffnung von Verwaltungsdaten einen Wachstumsschub von 40 Milliarden Euro jährlich für die EU-Wirtschaft.

Der kanadische Open Data-Evangelist David Eaves (Twitter: @daeaves) hat hierzu nun einen Blogartikel veröffentlicht, in dem er das ökonomische Potential – besonders durch kumulative Einsparungen – aufzeigt. Nachfolgend ein paar Auszüge des meiner Meinung nach sehr lesenswerten Beitrags:

The Value of Open Data – Don’t Measure Growth, Measure Destruction


Several years ago I blogged about how FOIed…data that should have been open helped find $3.2B in evaded tax revenues channeled through illegal charities. It’s just that this is probably not where the wins will initially take place. This is in part because most data for which there was likely to be an obvious and large economic impact (eg spawning a big company or saving a government millions) will have already been analyzed or sold by governments before the open data movement came along. […] So my point is, that a great deal of the (again) obvious low hanging fruit has probably been picked long before the open data movement showed up, because governments – or companies – were willing to invest some modest amounts to create the benefits that picking those fruit would yield.


And that is my main point: The real impact of open data will likely not be in the economic wealth it generates, but rather in its destructive power. I think the real impact of open data is going to be in the value it destroys and so in the capital it frees up to do other things. Much like Red Hat is fraction of the size of Microsoft, Open Data is going to enable new players to disrupt established data players.

What do I mean by this? Take SeeClickFix. Here is a company that, leveraging the Open311 standard, is able to provide many cities with a 311 solution that works pretty much out of the box. 20 years ago, this was a $10 million+ problem for a major city to solve, and wasn’t even something a small city could consider adopting – it was just prohibitively expensive. Today, SeeClickFix takes what was a 7 or 8 digit problem, and makes it a 5 or 6 digit problem.


For example, when you look at the work that Michael Flowers is doing in NYC, his analytics team is going to transform New York City’s budget. They aren’t finding $30 million dollars in operational savings, but they are generating a steady stream of very solid 6 to low 7 digit savings, project after project. (this is to say nothing of the lives they help save with their work on ambulances and fire safety inspections). Cumulatively  over time, these savings are going to add up to a lot. But there probably isn’t going to be a big bang. Rather, we are getting into the long tail of savings. Lots and lots of small stuff… that is going to add up to a very big number, while no one is looking.


Don’t look for the big bang, and don’t measure the growth in spending or new jobs. Rather let’s try to measure the destruction and cumulative impact of a thousand tiny wins. Cause that is where I think we’ll see it most.