Cultivating open data platform ecosystems to foster innovation in Latin America

Open data—data released by government in digital format, publicly available for anyone to use—is increasingly used as an asset to foster innovation and to contribute to economic and social development. Dr Carla Bonina’s research studies how to cultivate open data platform ecosystems to foster innovation in Latin America. This joint work with CBS colleague Ben Eaton builds upon knowledge generated in the corporate world and develops a practical model for governments to grow and nurture an ecosystem of innovators needed to unlock the value of open data for innovation, transparency and better public services. Based on in depth case studies of Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Montevideo, the research specifies a model based on tools and rules that the open government data authorities need to deploy. These include quality data, social tools like hackathons and clear rules to use and re-use data, so the third-party innovators can build new valuable open data-driven services.

Carla’s research on open data as an innovation platform has been a major underpinning piece for her larger impact work at policy levels. For example, the city of Buenos Aires—a leading city in deploying open data in the region–has recognised the unique contribution of Dr Bonina’s work when devising their Open Data Strategy and its value for the private sector. Carla’s research also contributed directly to build capacity more generally in Latin America, training more than 300 public servants working in digital data strategies.

Her research in this area also led to open practices to foster open science in a cross-faculty collaborative work between Surrey’s Centre of Digital Economy at Surrey Business School and the Veterinary Health Innovation Engine. In July 2020, Dr Bonina led the first-ever open data hackathon in animal health, PetHack 2020, leading to five innovative submissions delivered, more than 50 participants, 11 mentors, three judges and eight partnering institutions working alongside researchers and industry experts.

Dr Carla Bonina

DEEI, Surrey Business School; Surrey CoDE, Surrey CISM, AI Institute