Data Innovation Across the States: Leaders and Laggards


In a first, and early, look at how states are encouraging and enabling data-driven innovation, the Center for Data Innovation released a report, “The Best States for Data Innovation.” It shows that a number of states already demonstrate that a sustained commitment from policy makers to support the data economy pays dividends.

The report uses 25 indicators across three categories to assess which states are doing the most to encourage and enable data-drive innovation. The three categories are:

  • Data: the extent to which key data sets are available, including data about the government, education, health care, and energy;
  • Technology: the availability of key digital infrastructure, such as broadband, smart meters, and electronic health records; and,
  • People and companies: human and business resources, such as the number of open-data companies in the state, and the size of the data professional community.

The Center, a data-policy think tank affiliated with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, called on state policymakers to encourage and enable data-driven innovation by ensuring that high-value data sets are publicly available, key digital infrastructure is widely deployed, and necessary human capital and business resources are in place.

“Decisions that policymakers make today to encourage data-driven innovation will have long-term implications for states’ future growth and their residents’ quality of life,” said Daniel Castro, the Center’s director and the report’s lead author. “Early adopters will benefit immediately from using data to make headway in addressing social challenges from energy efficiency to affordable health care. By positioning themselves at the forefront of data innovation, states will also be able to grow and attract the right kinds of companies to become hubs of the data economy,” he added.

So, in a nutshell, participation in the data-driven economy has the potential to benefit the state’s economic position as well as to address challenges and enable change.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the results within each report category.

Ensuring Data Is Available for Use 

By ensuring data is available for use, individuals and organizations – government and businesses – are able to drive new insights and make better decisions, the report states. Additionally, the more data the states make available, the more advantages they’re likely to reap from data-driven innovation.

Data indicators looked at in the report come from multiple sources: government administrative data, including legislative and financial; education data; health data; and energy data. Of course, state policies on the dissemination of data directly impact the progress or lack of it that they are able to make in the data-driven economy.

So, for example, in this category, the state rankings are different than the overall rankings in the report. The top five states that ensure data is available for use are: Colorado, Oregon, Delaware, Maine, and Texas. The report examines each data indicator.

Enabling Key Technology Platforms 

States must invest in the underlying technology platforms that facilitate the …

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