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Microsoft Launches Open Data for Social Impact Framework

Posted on 24th of March 2022 by Sampriti Saxena

Microsoft Launches Open Data for Social Impact Framework
Microsoft Launches Open Data for Social Impact Framework

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the launch of their Open Data for Social Impact Framework. This framework builds on a key learning from their 2020 Open Data Campaign that effective data collaboration and decision-making require more than technology and tools. Rather, the success of open data and data collaborations rest on leadership, opportunity, talent, community government, and finally technology and data. This is especially true for actors who seek  to tackle societal challenges through the use of data.  

The Open Data for Social Impact Framework combines this central lesson from the Open Data Campaign with examples of data collaborations from around the world, and a range of tools from Microsoft’s Campaign partners – the Open Data Institute and The GovLab, to create a tool leaders across the data ecosystem can use to effectively leverage data in solving societal challenges. The collaborations shared in this framework, for example, tackle issues like reducing carbon emissions, upskilling labor, promoting accessibility and bridging broadband gaps.    

Microsoft structures their framework around five key topic areas, each accompanied by a guiding question designed to set organizational leaders on the right path towards open data: 

  1. Leadership: Are you ready to put data to work to improve social outcomes?
  2. Opportunity: What are the questions you want to answer with data?
  3. Skills: Do you have the talent needed for data analysis? 
  4. Community Governance: Have you built trust in your community around the use of data?
  5. Technology and Data: What solutions and resources do you need to measure, enable, and enhance your impact?

For each topic area, the framework shares examples of successful data collaborations from the Open Data Campaign along with helpful research and tools for open data from Microsoft’s partners. The GovLab’s work, both independently and through the Open Data Policy Lab, has been featured in a number of examples. The Data Stewards Academy, for instance, is cited as a central player in producing the organizational functions required to enable sustainable and responsible data collaborations. In understanding opportunity, the example of The 100 Questions Initiative is highlighted as a model for identifying high-impact questions. The framework also features The Data Assembly, the Data Responsibility Journey, the Periodic Table of Open Data’s Impact Factors, and the 9 Rs Framework.  

The Open Data for Social Impact Framework lays the foundation for the effective and responsible use of open data and data collaborations in tackling some of the world’s most pressing challenges. If leveraged effectively and responsibly, the opening, sharing and collaborating around data has the potential to create limitless opportunities for social impact.     

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