Data-Driven Innovation through Open Government Data
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 to 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.