What you need to know about the Datasphere Initiative

datasphere governance atlas


Datasphere Initiative


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The Datasphere Initiative was publicly launched on April 5, 2022 on the occasion of a G7 multistakeholder meeting. It’s mission is to build agile frameworks to responsibly unlock the value of data for all. The virtual launch event brought together almost 300 policymakers, companies, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and philanthropic foundations, from over 70 countries.

Here is what you need to know about this new organization and why you should join the effort to build a collaboratively governed Datasphere: 

Now is the time to cooperate and experiment with new data governance frameworks

Convening panels of policy leaders from the OECD, UN ECLAC, UNCTAD, governments of Japan, Germany, and Switzerland, philanthropic organizations such as the Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network, as well business leaders from Microsoft and Google, such as the co-inventor of the Internet Vint Cerf, the message from the launch event was clear: now is the time to come together to build a collaboratively governed Datasphere and experiment responsibly with new governance frameworks to deal with major global challenges. 

The concept of the Datasphere provides a new vision and a more holistic narrative for our data-driven future

The launch marked an occasion to share how understanding the Datasphere – defined as the complex system encompassing all types of data and their dynamic interactions with human groups and norms, allows us to recognize data’s uniqueness, unpredictability, and the difficulty of managing it using traditional tools. This is based in the belief that naming it is the first step to transforming how we think about data, towards a more holistic approach. Read Lorrayne Porciuncula’s remarks from the Datasphere Initiative launch event here.

A new one-stop-shop resource is available showcasing organizations working on data governance

In the past 30 years, the amount of organizations seeking to impact how data is governed and managed has grown tremendously. To explore this paradigm shift the Datasphere Initiative’s first flagship report the “Datasphere Governance Atlas” maps organizations working on data and showcases the work of this expanding community.

Qualitative analysis was conducted using public information of the 261 organizations sampled. Categorization and quantitative analysis were also developed for a sub-group of 220 organizations (excluding intergovernmental organizations). 

There is a need for further cooperation across sectors, regions and organizations when it comes to tackling data governance

The Datasphere Governance Atlas analysis shows that if we want to tackle the most pressing challenges of humanity which are not bounded by sector or disciplinary borders, more cross-sectoral cooperation and knowledge sharing is needed. To help bring the findings to life, the Datasphere Governance Atlas is accompanied by an interactive dashboard, which will act as a springboard for a arger and ongoing effort to provide an interactive observatory, within the Intelligence Program, to feed the much-needed global, transdisciplinary, and multistakeholder dialogue on data. 

Public and private actors are looking for a collective space to showcase and experiment with innovations in governance frameworks and technical solutions

Through its Lab Program, Datasphere Initiative is soon to release a report, developed with the support of the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, examining the model of sandboxes for data (both regulatory and operational), what they stand for, and how they could offer workable solutions for cross-border data flows. 

Lab initiatives will complement the work that has already been started across the Dialogue and Intelligence Programs to engage in regional work in different parts of the world (Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean), attract the best talent through a Fellowship Program  and bring together over 60 AI engineers to test visualization models for mapping the Datasphere. 

Organizations and individuals are invited to jump on board and join the global network as a partner or a friend

At the core of the Datasphere Initiative is its Network, the community of partner organizations and individuals who understand data governance as the core challenge for the 21st century. The Datasphere Initaitive’s values are openness, collaboration, empowerment, purposefulness, boldness, and persistence. Individuals can join the Datasphere Initiative as a Friend to engage in the projects or support the Datasphere Initiative through their organizations as an Institutional or Project Partner

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The Datasphere Initiative is a global network of stakeholders fostering a holistic and innovative approach to data governance to build agile frameworks to responsibly unlock the value of data for all.

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