An ecosystem perspective on developing data collaboratives for addressing societal issues: The role of conveners


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ISSN: 0740-624X

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Type of work: Article (academic)


e-Government & e-Administration




With the open and big data movement in full swing, data sharing becomes more ubiquitous and more often crosses sectoral boundaries. The promise of data to help address societal issues and foster innovation requires public organizations to work together with businesses and researchers. Data collaboratives whereby actors collaborate to share and use data for public good gain increasing interest. Most of these collaborations, however, tend to be one-off, small, and limited in impact due to a complex web of legal, technical, ethical, commercial, and organizational challenges. Initiators of data collaboratives, termed as conveners, can potentially alleviate some of these concerns by playing various roles in developing a more sustainable data ecosystem for the data collaboratives. Our study investigates what convener roles are perceived to be critical in developing data collaboratives. By drawing on data ecosystems thinking, we developed a framework of convener roles and sub-roles which we further used to analyze four cases in the Netherlands and Sweden. We conclude that connecting role and learning catalyst role are critical at the initiation stage, while stimulating and mediating roles emerge as future critical roles as the data ecosystem develops. We further identified convener meta-roles that are associated with particular data ecosystem structures (keystone-centric, marketplace-based, intermediary-based, and platform-centric). Our research can be instrumental to actors leading the efforts of creating such data ecosystems as it provides insights on the needs and resources that can be leveraged to stimulate development and innovation.


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Full document:
Susha, I., van den Broek, T., van Veenstra, A. & Linåker, J. (2023). “An ecosystem perspective on developing data collaboratives for addressing societal issues: The role of conveners”. In Government Information Quarterly, 40 (1). London: Elsevier.