Data-Driven Innovation through Open Government Data

Thorhildur Jetzek, Michel Avital, Niels Bjorn-Andersen
2014 Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research  
The exponentially growing production of data and the social trend towards openness and sharing are powerful forces that are changing the global economy and society. Governments around the world have become active participants in this evolution, opening up their data for access and re-use by public and private agents alike. The phenomenon of Open Government Data has spread around the world in the last four years, driven by the widely held belief that use of Open Government Data has the ability
more » ... generate both economic and social value. However, a cursory review of the popular press, as well as an investigation of academic research and empirical data, reveals the need to further understand the relationship between Open Government Data and value. In this paper, we focus on how use of Open Government Data can bring about new innovative solutions that can generate social and economic value. We apply a critical realist approach to a case study analysis to uncover the mechanisms that can explain how data is transformed to value. We explore the case of Opower, a pioneer in using and transforming data to induce a behavioral change that has resulted in a considerable reduction in energy use over the last six years. amount of information available in the digital universe has increased to its current rate of 2.8 ZB, a number that is expected to double every year. This increase is mainly due to the continuous digitization of nearly all media, the ubiquity of Internet access and the proliferation of mobile phones, as well as data generation from surveillance cameras and smart meters. For example, around 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every month and 235 terabytes of data were collected by the US Library of Congress in 2011 [49] . More than 30 million interconnected sensors are now deployed worldwide in areas such as security, health care, transport systems or energy control systems, and their numbers are growing by around 30% a year [49] . Smart meters collect and transmit real-time data on energy [57] , and smart automobiles are now able to transmit real-time data on the state of the car's components and environment [58] . Digitization affects two important features of data: 1) By making data easily accessible to more than one person at a time, it is resulting in non-rivalry, and 2) Drastically reducing marginal costs incurred by reproduction and distribution, it is making re-use economically feasible [54], [61], [70] Furthermore, not only have we now generated all these digital data, but in many cases they are also open for use by anyone interested, allowing for even more value generation through re-use of different stakeholders. der what circumstances value is generated, i.e., what factors enable value to materialize. This involves finding the drivers and barriers, as well as other related mechanisms, in order to explain how the value generating mechanism produced the observed impacts, and preferably whyor why not. domized trials [2]. A McKinsey report published in July 2009 estimated that there was a huge potential for energy-efficiency increases in the United States, and that a 23% reduction in energy usage was possible by 2020, resulting in large cost savings for the economy [48] . The report asserted that beyond the economics, efficiency represents an emissions-free energy resource. If captured at full potential, energy efficiency could abate approximately 1.1 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions per year by 2020 and therefore serve as an important bridge to a future era of advanced low-carbon supply-side energy options. However, the study highlighted a number of barriers to the realization of significant efficiency gains, including large initial outlays of capital required to improve infrastructure, the fragmentation of efficiency opportunities, societal apathy and simple lack of awareness. While the overall potential for energy-efficiency gains was vast, it was spread out across industrial, commercial and residential buildings, making widespread cooperation difficult. Additionally, the incentive and motivation of individuals and corporations to take responsibility for improvements by themselves were seen as being low [48] .
doi:10.4067/s0718-18762014000200008 fatcat:3ar7tiwdybf4xlehu7kcwb4tke