Growing Data Governance Communities

Facilitating collaboration between thinkers and practitioners

Many different groups around the world are coming to realise the value of collective and participatory data governance. There are strong academic research groups, for example those based at Tilburg University, University of Vienna, and the University of Sheffield. There are excellent think tanks, including the Aapti Institute, Open Data Institute, Ada Lovelace Institute and Research ICT Africa. And there are practitioners embedded within data holders (such as the UK’s National Health Service), working with communities (such as around Open Environmental Data) and operating as consultants (such as Involve or IpsosUK).

There is a huge opportunity for these groups to learn from each other, and to together develop shared resources that are useful for everyone. Our goal with this project is to help that happen. We want to:

  • make connections between different stakeholders that lead to successful collaborations and partnerships
  • co-develop common language, policies and toolkits that are adopted by those who are advocating for, designing and implementing collective and participatory data governance laws and practices
  • facilitate sharing and learning across stakeholder types that increases the quality and novelty of their work

The Omidyar Network is supporting two strands of activity towards this community-building and community-shaping, over 18 months between May 2023 and October 2024:

  • Networking: ongoing activities focused on developing connections between different actors working in the space. These include shared online spaces; newsletters and mailing lists; and monthly informal curated events focused on information sharing and discussion (including our Connected Conversations)
  • Design Labs: intensive, in-person, output-oriented workshops, bringing together experts to explore specific challenges around our three strands of activity – on narrative, practice, and policy – followed by collaborative work to refine and polish that output into a useful common resource.

What does it take to have informed, empowered and deliberative dialogue about the impacts of data and artificial intelligence?

We’re convening a group of 20 thinkers and practitioners who work on public engagement, data and artificial intelligence to co-create a toolkit that will support the deliberative governance of technology.

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As datafication accelerates, and algorithmic or artificial intelligence systems are adopted across public and private sectors, governments need to adopt bold measures that can deliver effective governance of data and AI. Three critical aspects of this will be transparency, public participation, and redress. However, policy advocacy in these areas has been relatively underdeveloped. This design lab developed model committment drafts to inform future open government action.

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In August, I also attended the 14th Privacy and Personal Data Protection Seminar, organised by the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee (CGI) and the Brazilian Network Information Centre ( in São Paulo. In light of Brazil’s G20 presidency, the already well-established event gained even more importance this year.

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On August 10th, I attended the first Think20 Brasil Mobilization Meeting (T20 Brasil), organised by the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) in partnership with the Alexandre de Gusmão Foundation (Funag) and the Brazilian Center for International Relations (Cebri). It was an effort to bring together representatives from think tanks, academic institutions, and civil society and share how the group will work during Brazil’s rotating presidency of the G20 in 2024.

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In July, we attended the Latin America edition of the most important conference in the field of data protection after being kindly offered a complimentary ticket by the organisers. It was an amazing opportunity to meet up with colleagues I had not seen since the pandemic and honour Danilo Doneda, who, on top of being the first to engage with data protection discussions in Brazil, was also my first boss in the field. And, as any good paulistana, make fun of cariocas’ accent.

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On 4th June, CONNECTED BY DATA, in partnership with Aapti Institute, Research ICT Africa, Aapti Institute and The Datasphere Initiative convened a workshop to explore global policy agendas on collective data governance.

The session explored building shared language, mapping policy landscapes, developing policies for collective data governance, and prioritising local and global advocacy opportunities.

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On Thursday 25th May 2023, CONNECTED BY DATA and Future Narratives Lab held a narrative design lab workshop, bringing together invited experts to start the co-creation of a strategy for shifting the inaccurate, damaging way data is currently framed & understood in media, policy and industry narratives.

The session followed a process of identifying problems, exploring promising solutions, and identifying opportunities for action. Discussions took place through three distinct tracks focussing on policy and politics, media, and industry.

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Weeknotes are a combination of updates and personal reflection written on a routine basis

Do you collect, use or share data?

We can help you build trust with your customers, clients or citizens

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Do you want data to be used in your community’s interests?

We can help you organise to ensure that data benefits your community

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