UK gets high rank in Europe for data innovation

Posted on 11 Oct 2017 by Jonny Williamson

The UK is one of the most innovative countries in Europe when it comes to making the most of data, a new report shows.

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The UK was rated the fifth best country in Europe for data innovation.

Data innovation contributed about €300bn to Europe’s economy in 2016 (or approximately 2% of GDP), according to ‘Centre for Data Innovation’.

And as reported by the think tank, the economy’s value will likely more than double by 2020.

Across society, data innovation is creating more responsive governments, better health care, and safer cities.

But EU nations differ in the degree to which they are harnessing the benefits of data.

This report uses a variety of indicators to rank EU member states and discusses why some countries are ahead and what others can do to catch up.

The UK was rated the fifth best country in Europe for data innovation based on more than 30 different indicators such as policy, skills and use of data-driven technologies in industry.

Revenues of the UK’s data companies – an indicator of a healthy data economy – were found to be €14.6bn, the highest of any of the 28 EU member states.

The UK was ahead of Europe’s biggest economies such as Germany and France, and behind only Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Sweden in the ranking, which identifies that strong national leadership and public policy were more important factors than a country’s income.

Promotion of data infrastructure such as broadband, digital public services and smart cities were also important, as was promoting data skills among the public.

The report concludes with recommendations for policymakers on how to improve their country’s performance in data innovation.

To summarise, governments need to prioritise three goals:

1. Maximise the supply of reusable data. Governments should both avoid laws and regulations that stifle the supply and flow of data, such as overly burdensome data-protection rules and data-localization policies in different member states, and increase the supply of data, such as via open data and freedom-of-information policies.

2. Improve infrastructure that supports data innovation. Governments should encourage the development of key technological platforms that enable data innovation, such as broadband, digital public services, smart meters, and smart cities.

3. Develop data-science and data-literacy skills in workers. Governments should encourage the development of data-related skills through the education system and through professional training programs. 

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