Our Impact

Open for Business: Data for Economic Growth

CODE began working on the business application of open data shortly after we launched the organization in 2015. At that time CODE worked with the World Bank on several projects to advance the use of open government data as a resource for international development. To that end, CODE and the World Bank developed the Open Data for Business (OD4B) assessment tool, which has now been used by many national governments in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean. The OD4B helps governments decide how to  release open data for private sector use to drive economic growth, create jobs, and improve the investment climate. It was the first effort to assess the private sector’s use of government data from the demand side.  The tool  helps inform governments’ data strategies by evaluating four key areas: high-value data, barriers to use, capabilities, and engagement channels. CODE has worked with the World Bank in-country on several OD4B engagements, with concrete results. For example:

  • In Sierra Leone, the OD4B engagement focused on private sector use of data to support small-to-medium enterprises and agribusinesses and build a stronger entrepreneurial and tech community. A follow up DataFest and business competition were planned in collaboration with key private sector stakeholders.
  • In Serbia, key medical datasets were identified and subsequently opened following an OD4B engagement. This allowed pharmaceutical companies and wholesalers to help track the ingredients of various drugs and fight counterfeit products in real time.
  • In Kazakhstan, an OD4B engagement brought 40+ private sector representatives from a dozen sectors together to discuss the value of government data for their businesses. This solidified the importance of private sector participation in data policy and facilitated the establishment of an ongoing private sector advisory council.

CODE continues to explore the business use of open data internationally, and co-authored a chapter on the subject for a landmark compendium on the state of open data worldwide.

At the same time, CODE had worked with both the U.S. government and the private sector to help facilitate the use of open government data by U.S. business. CODE’s Roundtable on Open Data for Economic Growth, held with the White House Office of Management and Budget in 2017, was a landmark event that produced both a summary report from CODE and a white paper in collaboration with Accenture

Over several years CODE has found applications of public data in every business sector, including the following. 

Consumer and retail: Companies working in this sector use data on weather, fuel prices, shipping and transportation, as well as international trade, to manage their supply chains. 

Finance: Financial companies utilize data on federal business loans and other factors to determine the credit-worthiness of individuals and business clients. 

Geospatial: Companies that have built their business on geospatial data draw on vast federal data sets from several agencies: NASA data, weather data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), GPS data from the Department of Defense, and Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. 

Health care: Health care companies commonly use data sources from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

Transportation: Companies in this sector rely on data from the Department of Transportation, such as data on recalls and traffic density, as well as data on population trends and energy efficiency from other agencies. 

CODE’s work is based on bringing together government data providers, private-sector data users, and other stakeholders to find the best applications of public data for economic growth and public good. We welcome opportunities for collaboration with private-sector companies at contact@odenterprise.org.