Trentino’s action plan aims at generating economic and social value by increasing cooperation among actors and stakeholders that engage with data, or that may benefit from engaging with data. It contributes to this goal by fostering a culture of open data in public authorities, favouring the creation, publication, and widespread use of open data inside various departments of the local administration. Finally, in order to enable further optimization of such practices, it establishes monitoring tools such as customised dashboards in order to promote best practices. 

Our current action plan proposal is based on inputs gathered from a number of stakeholders across different sectors, including economic actors, researchers, other public authorities and of course OSIRIS project partners. We felt that an inclusive process that accounts for local peculiarities in the development of new policies and activities is fundamental in ensuring that innovative initiatives respond to the needs of different actors in our province.

In this context OSIRIS has proved to be incredibly useful in developing such actions, complementing inputs from local stakeholders with best practices introduced in other parts of Europe. In our case, debating opportunities for enhancing EU’s structural and investment funds has proved to be an excellent framework for discussing open data with key actors.

During this process, we have learned that innovative policies can be most effective when they are rooted both in local and international trends. By interacting with partners in other parts of Europe we have discovered the many ways in which our experience coincides with that of others across the continent, in spite of local traits. Such occasions for exchange of experiences can be very pragmatic, and convinced us further of the importance of being part of this European network.

An exceptionally diverse set of stakeholders

Perhaps the most complex part of the project has been convincing people with very different backgrounds and with experience across a wide range of often distant economic and social sectors to work together around the same table. Ultimately, this has been a successful and rewarding process, even if certainly a challenging one. In this context, we feel that Osiris can have a strong impact by strengthening a collaborative network of actors with a strong interest in extracting value from data and fostering growth of a local data economy.

Open data practices are well developed in Trentino; nonetheless, open data have not yet been embraced across sectors or by all actors that could benefit by their uptake. The action plan responds to this state of affairs by introducing new indicators aimed at ensuring that public information is more evenly generated and exploited across different sectors. In the next few years, this process is set to generate more data to an extent that, according to forecasts, will lead to the development of an active data market. This process will also make it possible to use more effectively regional funds for development thanks to increased availability of that special type of raw material: data.

As of 2016, across the EU, the data economy has reached 306 billion Euro, or about 2.2 percent of the area’s GDP. This figure has increased by almost 10 percent in 2017, and according to IDC estimates could surpass the 1 trillion Euro threshold by 2025 if a favourable legislative framework will be introduced. It is in this context that we aim at creating the conditions for the growth of a robust data economy in Trentino as well.

Keeping track of developments

As the project implementation advances, we are becoming increasingly aware of the fact that, perhaps surprisingly, the monitoring component demanded by the Osiris project is actually one of its most interesting parts. Driven by the desire to create and develop new initiatives in a structurally innovative context that demands flexibility and adaptability, as well as by the need to work within well-established timeframes and tight deadlines, we often find ourselves working more in response to specific needs rather than on the base of carefully evaluated evidence on the merits and pitfalls of ongoing activities.

Due to Osiris monitoring requirements, for example, we made a preliminary research on the state of affairs of the data market in Trentino, which will be used as a baseline to evaluate the progress made by 2020. This initiative may well develop into a structured effort to monitor how Trentino’s enterprises join (or engage with) the data economy. In this sense, Osiris pushed us to establish a working approach that we believe to be extremely fruitful in the long term.

As a whole, as our experience developing an action plan has shown that rooting initiatives in the pragmatic needs of local stakeholders, and connecting them with global trends, is the way forward for effective data policies that aim at having an impact both in the short and the long term.