Responsible Business Week (31 March – 4 April) includes a number of events aimed at inspiring and equipping businesses to do more to address some of the world’s current challenges. With a backdrop of converging social, economic and environmental forces, business has the opportunity to drive growth as we look to recover from the recession. One of these well attended events at London’s Barbican was ‘the Data Renaissance’. Chaired by the Open Data Institute a panel including representatives from the Cabinet Office, Experian and Telefonica discussed a new era of data led innovation.

It was a thought-provoking session that explored why data has been making the headlines. The differences between the three types of data were explored: Personal Data, Open Data, Big Data.

It was agreed that effective business communications is required to help individuals as well as global organisations understand what each data type actually means and the potential for incredible benefits by effective and safe use of such information. That’s why we are so excited to be supporters of the Open Data Institute and the chance to help tell the stories of some of the amazing uses of data for social and economic benefit.

My key take outs from the event were:

Data is global by nature – and the benefits that could be achieved if Governments shared information openly are immense. Just think how much easier it would be to get car insurance when moving to a new country if your existing no claims history could be accessed.

You need to know the issue you are trying to fix – then you know what data you need and insights can be found. Imagine you have a child that requires special educational support. Wouldn’t it be great if local authorities could access information about which schools in your area can provide the help they need and connect you?

There are around 260 million companies worldwide, each conducting employee engagement surveys, polls and research. Imagine what they could achieve combining anonymous data to tackle shared business challenges?

The event closed with an interesting question: the original renaissance took about 300 years, can we afford for the data renaissance to take that long?

Big data and Open data offer both opportunities as well as risks. Individuals need to be informed and aware enough of what data is about to ask the right questions and be able to gain the skills to review information. In summary, Big / Open / Personal data can be knowledge for everyone.

We’re looking forward to exploring the opportunities for business to address some of the biggest challenges facing organisations in today’s data driven world in our next thefuturestory event next month. Hope you can join us and help create new success stories.