2022 Year in Review: Fostering Systematic, Sustainable and Responsible Data Re-use for Social Impact

Aerial image of New York City by night.
Photo: Unsplash/@NASA is licensed under CC0
  • Becoming more intentional and purpose driven when (re)using data and AI;
  • Fostering partnerships and data collaboration;
  • Advancing data and AI governance innovation at the subnational level; and
  • Prioritizing data responsibility.

Becoming more intentional and purpose driven when (re)using data and AI

A key aspect of our work is to understand the demand-side of data initiatives (i.e. what users and beneficiaries want to get from a data-driven project) and to match that to existing and new data supply. Scoping data supply and demand can create interventions that actually matter to the communities they seek to serve and foster a practice of purposeful data use and re-use.

The 100 Questions website.
  • Air Quality Domain: Published in 2022, “From Knowing to Doing: Operationalizing the 100 Questions for Air Quality Initiative” summarizes the September 2021 capstone event that wrapped up the 100 Questions for Air Quality domain, led by The GovLab and the World Resources Institute (WRI). Co-hosted by the Clean Air Fund, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, and the Clean Air Catalyst, this conference featured “a group of 100 atmospheric scientists, policy experts, academics, and data providers from around the world to identify the most important questions for setting a new, high-impact agenda for further investments in data and data science” to maintain and create clean air quality.
  • Governance Domain: The GovLab, alongside the Asia Foundation, the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Indonesia, and the BRAC Institute of Governance and Development launched the Governance domain of the 100 Questions Initiative at the end of 2021/early 2022. This domain looked at ways data can make governance more efficient, effective, and equitable. Read about the domain’s top-ten most pressing questions in the final report by Uma Kalkar and Stefaan Verhulst, here.
  • Food Systems Sustainability Domain: Along with the Barilla Foundation and the Center for European Policy Studies, The GovLab launched the Food Systems Sustainability domain of the 100 Questions Initiative in early 2022. Working with food and climate science ‘bilinguals’, we sourced and distilled over 70 questions to uncover the top ten most pressing ones for subject matter experts and the general public alike. Read the final blog here.
  • Urban Mobility and Transportation Domain: In April, The GovLab, in collaboration with the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), the Transformative Urban Mobility Initiative (TUMI) and the New Urban Mobility Alliance (NUMO), launched the Urban Mobility and Transportation domain of the 100 Questions Initiative. The domain sought to identify the “most pressing, impactful questions regarding safe, accessible, inclusive and sustainable mobility which data and data science have the potential to answer.” Read more about their findings in the final report by Uma Kalkar and Nadiya Safonova, here.
The #Data4COVID19 Review cover.
Global PeaceTech Hub homepage.
The Living Library homepage.

Fostering partnerships and data collaboration

This focus is about breaking down institutional silos that prevent collaborations across domains and the horizontal silos that create barriers between skills or capacities inside of institutions. It is also about fostering a culture of purposeful data sharing and re-use helps to democratize information and match data supply with its demand. This year, The GovLab has advanced work on operationalizing data collaboratives, a key method by which intersectoral partners can store, share, and collaborate with data at the center of social good initiatives.

The Big Data for Migration Alliance homepage.
A schematic of the adolescent mental health topic map.

Advancing data and AI innovation at the subnational level

Building open data capacity and meeting open data demand at the subnational level has the power to more directly impact the people projects intend to serve. Data held by the public sector and other institutions in cities, municipalities, states, and provinces are, by definition, more targeted and narrower in scope, making it more likely to align with the direct and immediate needs of citizens.

Periodic Table of Open Data Elements.
The AI Localism canvas.

Prioritizing data responsibility

At the center of all of our work at The GovLab is our commitment to responsible and ethical data practices. This involves a responsibility-by-design approach to open data that prioritizes fairness, accountability, and transparency across the data lifecycle while managing risks and maximizing value.

The Responsible Data for Children initiative homepage.
Panelists at the State of Open Data Policy Summit.
AI Ethics: Global Perspectives course logo.


The GovLab’s work was also featured in a number of conferences and roundtable discussions on data re-use and responsibility. Some of the events we had the pleasure of taking part in include:



Responsible Data Leadership to Address the Challenges of the 21st Century

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