Leveraging data for the public good
Leveraging data for the public good
Image courtesy of and under license from Shutterstock.com
Social media and other major private sector players lead the way in using data and AI to provide more personalized, customized experiences, an approach which holds lessons for governments and policymakers around the world, though these authorities function in ways that fundamentally differ from businesses.

LONDON - The digital age has taught businesses to see people as individuals rather than just as members of certain demographic cohorts. On social media, people receive personalized ads based on their responses to previous ads, their current locations, and their shopping habits. People’s massive digital footprints enables companies to know precisely how effective their advertising campaigns are at the individual level and to derive immense value from this knowledge.

Alas, it seems that this technological wave has yet to reach policymakers. Despite the advantages of Big Data, governments still tend to use a one-size-fits-all approach when planning investments or designing policies. To help improve public services through better use of data, we have therefore developed a new framework we call Quantum Governance.

Every successful business is built on three foundations: a shared goal, which serves as its raison d’être and the tools and methods to achieve it, and consumers, who are motivated by their own interests, ambitions, and beliefs. While it has become a staple of public debate that governments should operate like businesses, that is often impossible because these two types of social organizations were created for different purposes. What they do have in common, however, is the human factor, and that should be the focus of public-private partnerships in the digital age.

To perform well, both governments and businesses need to measure, assess, and understand information about people. While preventing abuse requires sound data governance, the status quo offers little hope: large and powerful corporations hoard valuable datasets, lose public trust, and lobby legislators to avoid oversight, while governments resort to top

The content herein is subject to copyright by Project Syndicate. All rights reserved. The content of the services is owned or licensed to The Yuan. The copying or storing of any content for anything other than personal use is expressly prohibited without prior written permission from The Yuan, or the copyright holder identified in the copyright notice contained in the content.
Continue reading
Sign up now to read this story for free.
- or -
Continue with Linkedin Continue with Google
Comments
Share your thoughts.
The Yuan wants to hear your voice. We welcome your on-topic commentary, critique, and expertise. All comments are moderated for civility.