The Centerfor Data Innovation, a data-policy think tank affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, ranked states on their progress in developing key assets necessary to take advantage of data-driven innovation. The new report found wide gaps among the states—but also a clear policy formula to encourage and enable data-driven innovation.
The Center’s analysis is the first of its kind, assessing states’ relative strength in 25 indicators covering three categories of assets critical to encouraging and enabling data-driven innovation:
- Data: the extent to which key datasets are available, including data about the government, education, health care, and energy. Massachusetts ranks 7th in this category.
- Technology: the availability of key digital infrastructure, such as broadband, smart meters, and electronic health records. Massachusetts ranks 10th in this category.
- People and companies: human and business resources, such as the number of open data companies in the state, and the size of the data professional community. Massachusetts ranks 1st in this category.
As data scientists and civic and business leaders across the country marshal the power of data and analytics to grow the economy and address societal challenges, Massachusetts ranks 1st in how well-prepared it is for success in this new data-driven environment.
“Massachusetts’ nation-leading data and innovation economy is powered by a talented workforce, exceptional educational institutions, and companies at the forefront of research and development,” says Governor Charlie Baker. “This recognition reflects our administration’s commitment to embracing data and technology to grow and attract many of the world’s most innovative companies and talent.”
The Center concludes policymakers should take action to ensure high-value datasets are publicly available, key digital infrastructure is widely deployed, and necessary human capital and business resources are in place.
“Data innovation will be a crucial driver of economic and societal progress in the coming decades,” says Daniel Castro, the Center’s director and the report’s lead author. “Some states are actively building the foundations necessary for a thriving data economy, and others are lagging. Decisions that policymakers in Massachusetts make today will have long-term implications for its future growth and its residents’ quality of life, as data plays an increasingly important role in the economy. By positioning itself at the forefront of data innovation, Massachusetts will be able to grow and attract the right kinds of companies to become a hub in the data economy.”
The Center for Data Innovation offers a series of recommendations for states to better develop the underlying assets necessary for success in the data economy:
- Publish legislative data in open and machine-readable formats.
- Publish checkbook-level government financial data online in open and machine-readable formats.
- Develop an open data portal and statewide open data policy.
- Develop a publicly accessible all-payer claims database.
- Promote the adoption of e-prescribing for controlled substances, such as through legislative requirements or incentive programs.
- Pass legislation preventing strategic lawsuits against public participation (known as SLAPPs).
- Create a statewide e-government strategy, which includes consideration of emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, and work with municipal governments to drive e-government adoption.
- Require public agencies to participate in programs such as submitting data to the Department of Energy’s Building Performance Database.
- Work with state utility commissions and utility providers to accelerate the adoption of smart meters.
- Provide top-down leadership and support to state and municipal departments of transportation to publish transit data in real time using the General Transit Feed Specification standard.
- Support efforts to increase broadband access and improve broadband speeds.
“While the data economy is rapidly maturing, these are still early days,” says Castro. “Policymakers in Massachusetts have an opportunity to maximize the state’s potential to leverage data for social and economic good if they continue investing now in the data, technology, and people necessary for data-driven innovation to flourish.”