PANEL: Redefining the Role of Data Stewardship and Data Collaboration for COVID-19
Data collaboratives are a new form of collaboration, beyond the public-private partnership model, in which participants from different sectors — in particular companies — exchange their data to create public value. This emerging data approach can bring together a wide range of inter-sectoral experience to generate new insights and innovations. However, the success of these arrangements often depends on data stewards — responsible data leaders empowered by their organizations to proactively initiate, facilitate, and coordinate data collaboration.
In a panel published Tuesday for the 2020 Responsible Data Summit, The GovLab’s Co-Founder and Chief Research and Development Officer Stefaan Verhulst spoke with real-world data stewards Claudia Juech (Cloudera Foundation), Richard Benjamins (Telefonica), and Brennan Lake (Cuebiq) about the value of their role. Addressing the renewed need for data amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, they spoke specifically about how they had contributed to the COVID-19 response and recovery effort.
Brennan Lake began the conversation by noting how his organization’s prior experience working on public good issues benefited it during the pandemic.
“I think if we were a company that just solely focused on for-profit models and satisfying private-sector needs, we might have been scrambling to respond to the call and the need for this kind of data but luckily responsible data stewardship is baked into Cuebiq’s DNA.”
He added: “The key ingredient to success was having that network in place and having the infrastructure to be able to share data better in a responsible way with folks we knew would take up the mission in a very action-oriented way.”
Richard Benjamins echoed these points and noted how private-sector organizations can glean lessons from their normal business models.
“When the whole pandemic actually happened, we went proactively to the Spanish government and said, ‘hey, we have nice insights for managing the crisis.’” He noted. “Since then, we’ve been sharing this kind of information through dashboards or executive reports at different levels, just following movements of people across the country.”
Complimenting the anecdotes of the previous two speakers, Claudia Juech noted several major takeaways from her work. First, she said that, as Richard and Brennan indicated, many of the Cloudera Foundation’s grantees had embedded coronavirus-related activities into their data work. Second, she found that many of the criteria for grantees — such as security and governance and data science capacity — continued to be relevant amid the pandemic.
The attendees subsequently expanded on these points and discussed a variety of other issues, including the need to promote long-term sustainability, the value of a community of data stewards, and the importance of engaging with the public on data reuse.
You can watch the full discussion on these points through the video above.