Copenhagen and Data utilization

Generation of data in society is happening at all times through constant use of web pages, mobile phones or other devices connected to the Internet. The data can be everything from pollution stats to how satisfied they are with their doctor. A trend in the private sector is utilizing data in order to tailor advertisement and services to consumers. It is from here the government needs to draw inspiration and look into the technical developments happening. Utilizing data will help generate new jobs and improve the services delivered to the citizens. For an efficient solution, the municipality of Copenhagen needs to develop guidelines for data usage in the public sector.

Citizens constantly produce data in society, in both private and public sector, especially with the increased digitization of public services and usage of gadgets and phones. Utilizing data generated from this in an efficient way will become central to the government if they are to deliver quality services to its citizens. An example of this is the Danish tax authority, SKAT, who knows its citizens through modelling and predictions. This allows for predictions of future behavior and can create knowledge of new kinds of state-citizen relations as the state increasingly relies on computation in its relation to citizens. The reality is however, that most sectors of the government do not utilize the data. The challenge lies in figuring out how to best utilize the data in a way so it adds value to the society. Therefore, there is a need for research on how to optimization data usage in the public sector on a broad scale.

To address this need, Consulting Group X created a bespoke Big Data Methodology that, if done right, will result in guidelines applicable for any given part of the municipality. It will contain information of how to think about data, its importance, and how to utilize it. Another aspect is the transparency; teaching the citizens about how their data will be utilized in order to enhance their experience with the municipality to improve the relationship between citizen and state.

To find the pillars needed to create a more efficient state usage of data, Consulting Group X, between 24.03.2017 and 31.03.2017, have conducted a literature study on the field, consisting of four articles and seven URLs. The study has consisted of reading all of the writings, and then gathering and connecting the most crucial information into the blueprint that make up the guidelines that will guide the different sectors of the Copenhagen municipality. This includes both usage of the data itself and pedagogical principles for passing this knowledge on to the citizens. The guidelines help unravel the opportunities that lie within data utilization.

Consulting Group X’s findings identify several influences on data usage and the urgency for the municipality of Copenhagen to rethink their efforts and strategies towards it. As data is everywhere in today’s society, the methodology suggests covering everything from the digital divide to knowledge production; resulting in useful cross-functional guidelines for the municipality.

Big Data adds another layer to the complexity that is governance. This layer, can if used correctly, help unravel some of the complexities through data mining. By analyzing the data, extracting information and making it understandable, the government can enhance the relations between citizens and state. The questions that need investigation is how the citizens utilize data-services, what data is stored, how the public view these services and the potential opportunities of optimizing these. Further, this raises questions about how to analyze the data in regards to the subjectivity and the ethical side of it. Bigger is not always better, at least not if one cannot make sense of the data.

This usage relates to the constant production of data that is happening in today’s society. The government and its functions need to educate the citizens about how their data-production can affect their daily life. Another perspective is for the government to restructure the laws regarding the utilization of the data of its citizens. These aspects can affect the insurance granted by private companies to the citizens, based on the data they have collected on them. Citizens are losing control over their data once produced. Policies regarding the citizens’ right to control their own data is not in place, and it is therefore urgent that to carry out studies in this regard.

Big companies as Apple and Facebook are currently investing into Denmark to host their data-centers. Therefore, it is a need to conduct studies of the data-laws, the effects hosting the data will have, and the impact it will have on both the digital infrastructure and the social aspect. Having a clear plan and deep understanding of these regulations will help the government optimize this cooperation. Data centers might become a valuable asset for Copenhagen, and the municipality might need their own if the trend of data generation keeps on going.

In this new age technology, it is crucial that governments are following the technical developments happening. Citizens are demanding more tailored experiences and better quality in services from the municipality. Therefore, it is important to spread the knowledge of the potential data utilization can have in order for Copenhagen to better itself. Research on how to make guidelines for better data utilization is important if the municipality of Copenhagen is to deliver the best possible services for its citizens.


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