Items tagged "Volunteered Personal Information"

Read about our views on marketplace changes as well as updates on our research and event programmes.

One step closer to the Segment of One

Posted: 24th November, 2014 | 0 comments

Meeco is a new PIMS launching a capability to enable sharing rich-data through a user-centric platform. We asked Meeco’s CEO & founder Katryna Dow to tell us about her initiative.

Around us we see tectonic shifts in the global economy and the focus on big-data. Out of the chaos a new market is emerging; one that places individuals and citizens at the centre of the data centric market, what Tim Berners Lee refers to as rich data. Whilst governments and business are tackling the issues of personal identity, open data, privacy, crypto currency and the Internet-of-Things, new services designed…

The economics of identity

Posted: 9th June, 2014 | 0 comments

Every day individuals have to undertake a range of information tasks such as ‘fill in a form’ or ‘prove you are who you say you are’ when dealing with organisations.

This second task of identity assurance is critically important for both individuals and organisations. If it goes wrong, it opens the door to identity theft and fraud. If either side doesn’t trust the process, they might walk away from the transaction, or they default to a much more cumbersome and expensive process such as manually presenting and inspecting identity-confirming documents such as passports or driving licences.

The costs of identity

Two reports to the US President on Big Data and Privacy are likely to transform the debate about the future of personal data. The first report on the broad issues is quite anodyne. But the second one on the technology aspects of the debate get right to the point.

This report repeats something we've been saying for a long time: that the notion of 'informed consent' (which underpins EU data protection legislation) is fundamentally flawed. But it also highlights the answer which Ctrl-Shift has been advocating for the past years: that the solution lies in intermediaries acting…

Beyond the Web’s monoculture

Posted: 5th May, 2014 | 0 comments

With pending EU legislation focusing minds, big questions are now being asked about what rules and safeguards should apply to organisations collecting and using personal data. Many competing models are being proposed. Should rules, permissions etc focus on the data that’s being collected? Should they focus on the context in which it is collected? Or the purpose for which it is used?

How should consent work? Is it OK to have implied consent in some circumstances? If so, which circumstances? Or should it always be active, explicit consent? In which case, how to avoid things like ‘click fatigue’ where it…

It’s really simple: personal data is valuable and useful to the people whose data it is.  Yes it’s valuable to organisations, but it’s also valuable to individuals who can use it to do the things that organisations do with data: generate insights, inform decisions, streamline and automate tasks and processes.

This way points to the creation of unique new data sets focused on each individual, new levels of data sharing driving a vast array of new private and public services.

This is the ‘Personal Information Economy’ discussed at our conference on Thursday March 20. At this buzzing event, we heard…

At our Personal Information Economy 2014 event we’ll be exploring the game changing opportunities and implications of the new information rich digital economy. Personal information management services and trusted data sharing are changing relationships between consumers and organisations. An example of this is Pribook.

Pribook is a private networking platform which puts users in control of their information. It is a personal cloud service which lets users manage their identity, relationships with contacts and organsiations and information about the objects they own all in one place. By using Pribook, individuals are able to choose what information they…

Intent casting is much talked about but little done. It’s the idea of consumers being able to express their intentions to the marketplace instead of being ‘targets’ for marketers’ messages.

Intently is an example of one of the pioneers of this concept. Users select a service and location and Intently finds relevant matches and sends out requests to them on the customer’s behalf. Founder Neil Harris told Ctrl-Shift how the business works and his plans for the future.

1. What’s the big benefit your service is designed to offer?

The biggest benefit is…

CTRLio is a digital profile management service which aims to help users control and benefit from their personal data. By handing back control of personal data assets to individuals CTRLio believes businesses will develop more engaging commerce. The London-based company recently won investment from Seedcamp, a seed investment company specialising in innovative tech startups. We spoke to CPO and co-founder Dominic Strowbridge to find out more about the business.


1. What’s the big benefit your service is designed to offer?

CTRLio helps customers manage their digital profiles and use the information they…

Handshake is a new app and web service (in beta) that aims to help consumers to negotiate a price for their personal data and sell it directly to companies. Consumers create profiles choosing how much data they want to share. These are accessed by brands that contact individuals via the app and offer them rewards in exchange for their information. The offer to business is that they can benefit from real-time customer interactions creating opportunities to build more positive relationships with consumers. We spoke to Duncan White, a founder of Handshake, to find out more about the business.

miiCard, which provides online identity verification services, has made a series of announcements over the last few weeks. Businesses and people are signing up for their user-centric identity service which uses the power of volunteered information to create breakthrough efficiencies and value for all parties.

We heard their news from CEO James Varga at a recent miiCard investor event. They are seeking investment to grow the business internationally. Ctrl-Shift’s Alan Mitchell was invited to provide an independent analysis of the evolving identity market and while we were there we caught up with James to ask him about the event…

An ad-free Internet?

Posted: 30th August, 2013 | 0 comments

An interesting article in the New York Times supports what we’ve been saying for some time. Today’s internet business model is supported by advertising which is driven by sellers trying to find buyers, reach out to them, and persuade them to buy. It’s a seller-centric model driven by sellers’ need to sell.

We think this model is tipping on its head, to become much more buyer-centric, driven by buyers trying to find the products, services and suppliers they want and make better decisions about their purchases.

Under this model the emphasis shifts from advertising to decision support. Fundamentally, it’s exactly…

There’s a huge amount going on in the world of Open Data. There’s a huge amount going on in the world of personal data. What happens when these two worlds meet?

Answer: a veritable value explosion, as our new paper When Open Data meets Personal Data shows.

There’s something really special about this value explosion.

Big Data – the world of large volume data sets, statistics, correlations, patterns and trends – has huge potential in its own right. But it also has its limitations. Knowing where every bus or tube is, right now, on the London transport system is…

midata Innovation Lab launches

Posted: 4th July, 2013 | 0 comments

Seeing is believing.  Many people can’t see the opportunity of something really new until they can see a working example. At Ctrl-Shift we can say that one day there will be as many services based on the permission based sharing of personal data as there are physical products using say, plastic or metal components. But until we provide those working examples many people – companies, individuals, policy makers – will mutter ‘it’s just a theory’ and walk away.

That’s why, in our role as business advisors to the UK Government’s midata programme we’ve been beavering away with colleagues from…

A really interesting article by Internet Advertising Bureau President Randall Rothenburg has just gone up on its web site. I recommend you read it, not so much for its content but for its tone.

Just a few years ago the IAB’s tone was triumphant. It had discovered the secret of how to deliver perfect relevance and therefore solve the problems of advertising effectiveness forever. It had seen the future, and the future was it. Hurrah!

Now, if you read this blog, the shift in tone is remarkable. Using phrases like ‘kangaroo cookie court’ to describe Mozilla’s move…

How to value personal data?

Posted: 21st June, 2013 | 0 comments

The Financial Times’ recent exercise to help individuals value their data has caused something of a stir amongst those interested in personal data.

It’s unfortunate that, in a world where data is increasingly recognised as a critically important raw material, the FT chose to base its calculations on the one tiny corner of the data industry that’s facing a mortal threat: data broking.

Data brokers make their money out of selling individuals’ data. It’s mostly unpermissioned (therefore lacking social and consumer legitimacy), collected and used out of context (therefore not relevant), and devoid of utility (e.g. used for targeting…

Some interesting sessions at the DataIQ conference this week. My talk was on the theme ‘Where Personal Data Meets Big Data’. One meeting point takes the form of a clash: the requirements of Big Data and of personal data protection are at loggerheads. Big Data is all about collecting as much data as you can, keeping it as long as possible (to identify trends), and using the data for as many purposes as possible (because it’s all about discovering new patterns, correlations and insights).

Data protection rules on the other hand require informed consent for the collection and use…

New research published by Ctrl-Shift today (Breakthrough Efficiency Summary) today shows organisations could achieve dramatic cost savings/efficiency improvements by connecting to new businesses providing data services to individuals.

Organisations in both public and private sectors currently struggle with multiple, constant headaches when it comes to managing and using customer data. They struggle to keep their data up to date and accurate; with inefficiencies caused by inaccurate and partial data; with high costs of identity assurance and associated risks; with managing market research; and with over-reliance on paper-based rather than digital processes.

Now, however, new services that elicit…

I’ve just had a big picture theoretical article on the nature of brands and branding published in a special edition of the Jourmal of Brand Management on ‘The New World of Brand’.

The article looks at developments in technology, in economics and economic theory, and psychology to examine marketing theories about what brands do and explains why ‘brand as information service’ strategies are becoming essential for most brands.

The article examines an oddity in the way marketing currently works. Companies work hard to make products that meet customer needs and that customers are keen to buy. They also work…

Slowly but surely the various pieces of the new Personal Data Ecosystem jigsaw are falling into place. Actually, not that slowly. The pace is hotting up.

Today, at the Sibos conference in Osaka, Japan, Ctrl-Shift reports the results of a six month research project for SWIFT, the global financial payments provider. The research, which involved most of the world’s leading banks, investigates the business case for a new piece of infrastructure called the Digital Asset Grid (DAG) designed to facilitate secure, permission-based data sharing between different parties: organisations, individuals and even devices. Not to put too fine a point…

Just back from the World Economic Forum workshop in Brussels on ‘Unlocking the Value of Personal Data: Balancing Growth and Protection’.

The gist of WEF’s argument goes like this. Personal data is emerging as a hugely valuable economic asset – ‘the new oil’. Just like oil, if the value of this asset is to be realized it needs to flow, not remain stuck where it was created.  If personal data is flow, there must be trust and that means treating individuals less as passive data ‘subjects’ – the subject of organisations’ data gathering activities – and more as active…

Reinventing advertising

Posted: 20th September, 2012 | 0 comments

This week’s issue of Marketing Magazine carries a cover story written by me called ‘Beyond Advertising: Why Consumer Services Is Trumping Traditional Marketing’.

The key passage in the article goes like this:
"The simplest and most important driver of change is the basic fact of the information age. Not long ago – the pre-internet era of three TV stations for example – information/content was relatively scarce and available consumer attention was abundant. But now we’ve entered an era of information overload and clutter and the tables have turned. Power is shifting from the content/information provider to the attention owner.

In this summer issue we cover our forthcoming research schedule, an update on the midata consultation and some new start-ups.

Ctrl-Shift research

Increasingly, we’re being asked many of the the same questions about the emerging personal data market so we’re focusing our forthcoming Autumn/Winter research reports on developing answers to them.

In a world drowning in data, what infrastructure, rules and commercial models enable the right information to be shared at the right time with the right people? This information logistics challenge is easy to talk about but hard to do. Our forthcoming report on Information Logistics will…

Why legislate on midata?

Posted: 7th August, 2012 | 0 comments

As some of you may know, Ctrl-Shift has been acting as a strategic advisors to the UK Government’s midata programme. Now the pace is accelerating decisively with the Government’s move to give UK consumers additional statutory rights to their data in portable electronic form.

Of course, decisions like this are political and made by ministers. We weren’t party to the political discussions. But from the specific perspective of midata itself here are some reasons why this initiative is a good move.

Consumer Minister Norman Lamb notes in his introduction to the consultation midata has made significant progress over the last…

Competing for customer loyalty

Posted: 1st August, 2012 | 0 comments

Loyal customers are the bedrock of business and the benefits of loyalty are well understood. But what does customer loyalty actually mean in today’s changing environment, what are the drivers and factors that determine loyalty, and what are the opportunities for those who are getting it right?

These are the key questions we are asking as we initiate a board level strategic study into the changes affecting customer loyalty in banking. Here’s a little more about what we are doing and why.

The shifting sands of customer loyalty

Loyalty currently suffers from confused terminology. People use the ‘L’ word to…

The Government has announced its intention to give consumers the statutory right to obtain an electronic copy of data companies hold about them, so that they can use this data for their own purposes. This is a game changing move, dramatically extending the reach of the midata programme from its previous focus of energy, banking and telcos to, potentially, all major companies holding customer data.

Ongoing debate

Some companies are likely to react negatively, arguing that the new right would be a ‘burden on business’. But the Government is rightly linking the move closely to a growth agenda. Introducing…

In this issue we highlight the findings of our study into the impact of new services using Volunteered Personal Information, an insight into developments in the ‘Internet of Things’, and that we looking for someone new to join our team.

Don’t target me...ask me

We’ve just finished some research looking at a group of services that that use Volunteered Personal Information (VPI) to provide relevant content - offers, recommendations and adverts. In our study, sponsored by nFluence Media, three new services, Visual DNA, Dealboard and Hunch, were stacked up against loyalty schemes, global brands like Amazon, Facebook and Google,…

I've been catching up a little on underlying theories of information. Here’s what I found.

James Gleick, who also wrote Chaos, is a brilliant writer. His book The Information, is a fascinating read but is ultimately disappointing because everything he says is based on theories of Claude Shannon.

Shannon was a brilliant engineer who did much to make today’s information age possible. As an engineer he was focused on getting a message from A to B as accurately and efficiently as possible. He didn’t care what it said. So his theory of information said that to measure information all…

Today marks an important milestone in the personal data landscape. The US based Respect Network – which has developed the award winning Respect Trust Framework enabling members to securely share identity and personal data – has announced two major corporate founding partners, leading global technology company Neustar and telecoms giant Swisscom.

It’s an important development for two reasons.

Firstly, it means that the concept of a Vendor Relationship Management network, one that connects people to people and people to companies in a trusted, two way information contract, has taken a major step towards market availability. It is the first global,…

Media's perfect storm

Posted: 12th July, 2012 | 0 comments

One of the sessions at the recent World Economic Forum Tiger Team meeting in London focused on rethinking advertising. This session made it absolutely clear: traditional media companies – in TV and press in particular – need to reinvent their business models.

The control shift gives them an opportunity to do so.

The story so far

Advertising funded 20th century media companies were hugely successful. There were many combinations and permutations: high reliance on display advertising vs high reliance on classified advertising; free vs a cover price. But underneath the nuances the model was pretty simple: advertising funded journalism, journalism attracted…

Privacy as a personal setting

Posted: 9th July, 2012 | 0 comments

At the recent World Economic Forum Tiger Team meeting in London I gave a short presentation on the commercial opportunities opened up by empowering individuals with data. (If you want a copy of the presentation, please get in touch).

I outlined four unfolding trends:

Information as a tool in the hands of the individual – a ‘phase change’ (as WEF’s William Hoffman put it) from the old status quo where information was almost exclusively a tool in the hands of the organisation.
Individuals as managers of their own data. This is driving the rise of new…

The pricing shift

Posted: 22nd June, 2012 | 0 comments

Interesting! According to an article in the latest edition of Harvard Business Review most companies' approach to pricing is 'antagonistic' to customers. Seeing pricing purely in terms of how to maximise revenues from each transaction, companies routinely put their customers' backs up, undermining relationships and, over time, their own businesses, warns pricing strategy expert Marco Bertini from London Business School.

Airlines offer a classic example of antagonistc pricing: a misleading headline price followed by extra, late-in-the-day charges for baggage, leg room, using a credit card, and so on. If you read economics textbooks this may be a perfect means…

In this newsletter we cover our new report on the identity assurance market, hot off the press this week. We also give you a preview of our forthcoming research on customer loyalty, an update on the recent World Economic Forum Re-thinking Personal Data meeting in London, and close with a smattering of market news.

Ctrl-shift research

Identity assurance. We’ve now published our report on the UK identity assurance market. We think that the path the Government is on, a truly citizen-centric one, could cause serious disruption in the long-term. Even in the short-term the money being put into the…

WEF 'Tiger Team' meeting

Posted: 13th June, 2012 | 0 comments

Tomorrow a group of specially invited experts and leaders from across the emerging personal data landscape meet in London to discuss and review the latest outputs from the World Economic Forum’s Re-thinking Personal Data project. There will be contributors, who we have helped to bring together, from the telecoms, retail, financial services, media, advertising, government and technology sectors, comprising a mix of commercial, legal/policy and technical functions.

This international ‘Tiger Team’, managed by STL Partners with the support of other members of the Re-thinking Personal Data project team, will tackle some of the priority issues raised in WEF’s recent…

The following is a guest post by Alan published yesterday by Wired.

I love TED but when it introduced its TEDGlobal 2012 theme of "radical openness" something it said gave me the jitters. Radical openness, it declared with apparently consummate confidence, "implies a loss privacy".

Ah! The great P word. Scott McNealy famously declared "you have zero privacy anyway -- get over it". Eric Schmidt told us that anyone concerned about online privacy "had something to hide". But privacy isn't dying. It's being reinvented. It was 120 years ago that Harvard Lawyers Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeisfirst suggested

In this newsletter we cover the latest global and local developments in the personal information market. We trail our next report on Identity Assurance, already a £300m market, and give a round-up of the month's news.

Unfolding developments

The market for personal information has changed significantly, even in the last month, and we are delighted to see a whole series of exciting developments.

In our report on personal data stores (PDS) we’ve looked at the possibility that there could be as many as 100m examples of personal data handbacks in the UK this year. We predict that over…

May 26 is an important date for UK websites and businesses. As from then, all businesses have to comply with the so-called Cookie law. The essence of this law is that users must be asked for their consent before cookies are used. We’ve wrestled with the practical implications of how to do this and this post sets out our thoughts.

Let’s get the important, but dull, points out of the way. The law is the law and you have to comply. We are neither lawyers nor experts so you shouldn’t assume these thoughts constitute legal advice. The law applies…

Last week I met with some people from a large high street retailer, reviewing the company's strategy over the next five years. We talked about where the customer/personal data landscape would be by then. This is a summary of what I said.

1. A significant (and growing) number of customers will be using personal data stores or equivalent services to help them manage their own personal information.  Many of these will be companies’ most valuable customers.

2. Customers will expect the companies they deal with to provide complete access to their customer data e.g. what they bought, when, for how…

About a year ago, the World Economic Forum produced a report talking about personal data as 'a new asset class'. Some said it is 'the new oil' energising and greasing the wheels of the information age. But personal data isn't a traditional asset like oil in two critical respects.

First, when we collect, refine, process and use oil it has no feelings about that matter. But personal data - which is about persons - is different. Persons care about how their data is collected, refined and used and by whom. They want to have a say in the matter.

Second, the 'asset'…

The Intention Economy

Posted: 8th May, 2012 | 0 comments

“Customer power will be personal, not just collective. Each customer will come to market equipped with his or her own means for collecting and storing personal data, expressing demand, making choices, setting preferences, proffering terms of engagement, offering payments, and participating in relationships - whether those relationships are shallow or deep, and whether they last for moments or years. Those means will be standardised. No vendor will control them.”

This paragraph sums up the subject matter of Doc Searls' new book The Intention Economy - and the trend towards 'VRM' or Vendor Relationship Management.

I'll do a proper review…

It’s an old economist’s saying that there is no such thing as a free lunch and in most cases this is true.

But there is one situation where it isn’t. If you can avoid or eliminate waste – i.e free up resources (time, money, materials) that were previously being eaten up doing something – then you may not be getting a free lunch but it’s pretty close to one: suddenly, miraculously, you have resources available when before you didn’t.

The good news is that our economy is riddled with waste. We therefore have a massive ‘free lunch’ resource liberation opportunity.…

It has been a busy month where we have attended and hosted several events. They highlight the way that public opinion, technology, regulatory and commercial pressures are all lining up to unleash a sea change in the personal data landscape. What’s also becoming clear is that the UK is leading the world in giving individuals control over their data. In this issue we’ll tell you about these events, our new research and a smattering of market news.

A £1bn opportunity?

Our latest research (to be published on Monday April 30) is a comprehensive review of all the players in the…

The control shift

Posted: 23rd April, 2012 | 0 comments

As a result of our discussions at our last Explorers’ Club event we have created a Infographic (see below) mapping the timeline of changes in the personal data landscape. To download simply right click on the image.

We’ve mapped out the events and predictions from now until 2017 looking through the lenses of: social and cultural changes; corporate commercial activity; entrepreneurial activity; technology; and legislation, regulation, policies, protocols and standards.

The timeline suggests that market savvy consumers will soon start taking control of their data (as Tim Berners Lee has recently urged); short-term winners will be entrepreneurs (see

The future of advertising

Posted: 20th April, 2012 | 0 comments

Interesting article on the BBC Technology web site (which, by the way, seems to be turning itself into an advertorial platform for big technology companies).

It’s called ‘Going Digital: The Future of Advertising’ and it’s by Andy Hart, general manager of Microsoft’s advertising and online division.

What’s fascinating, and puzzling, is what it doesn’t say as much as what it does. Here are the key sentences.
“The future of advertising isn't just about technology: people are also driving it (as they always have, of course, but in a far more profound and dynamic way than before).

Google's slow-mo train crash

Posted: 10th April, 2012 | 0 comments

A fascinating letter to investors by Google CEO Larry Page. Here is a key passage:

“Understanding identity and relationships can also help us improve search. Today, most search results are generic, so two strangers sitting next to each other in a café will get very similar answers. Yet everyone’s life experiences are unique. We are all knowledgeable about different things; we have different interests and our preferences—for music, food, vacations, sports, movies, TV shows, and especially people—vary enormously.”

“Imagine how much better search would be if we added… you. Say you’ve been studying computer science for awhile like me,…

Is more data always better?

Posted: 30th March, 2012 | 0 comments

One of the pushbacks we get when talking to marketers about VPI (Volunteered Personal Information) goes like this: “Oh no! You are talking about yet another source of data. I’m already awash with data! In fact I’ve got so much data that I don’t know what to do with it! Now you are asking me to take on even more!”

In fact, what we are suggesting is something far more radical – and simple. Marketers find themselves awash with lots of useless data because they haven’t got the few special bits of data they really need.

To communicate effectively with…

Another step towards the control shift

Posted: 24th February, 2012 | 0 comments

The US Government’s planned new Privacy Bill of Rights marks a decisive moment in the control shift. The first clause and sentence effectively makes the first half of the control shift ‘official’. They read:

1 INDIVIDUAL CONTROL:  Consumers have a right to exercise control over what personal data companies collect from them and how they use it.

The only question now, is how far and how fast the control shift moves (the second, decisive, half being empowering individuals as managers of their own data).

One step forward …

Highly symbolic as it is however, the US Administration’s initiative is…

In this issue we highlight our forthcoming reports each of which delivers fresh insight into emerging markets. Also covered are some suggestions drawn from our recent research about what constitutes best practice in building positive, two-way data sharing customer relationships. The market round-up includes some of the key news this month.

Understanding growth markets

Over the next few months our research is focused on some of the new market opportunities emerging as a result of developments in the empowered consumer marketplace. Two new reports will provide evidence and analysis of the implications and possibilities created by developments across these different…

EU data law's big strategic questions

Posted: 2nd February, 2012 | 0 comments

I have to say, I’m puzzled by the reaction so far to the EU proposed new regulations for data protection.

There’s been a lot of debate about a proposed new ‘right to be forgotten’. However, from what I read of the actual draft legislation, the ifs and buts of this new right mean its real impact could be pretty limited. There’s considerable corporate hand-wringing about the penalties for breaking the new law, but the proposed maximum fines would only apply to the most flagrant violations and be tested in the courts.

Hand-ringing about the cost of implementation is more interesting:…

Consumer empowerment in 2012

Posted: 5th January, 2012 | 0 comments

So what trends will take shape in 2012 as the control shift continues in this era of consumer empowerment?

Consumers will continue to assert their ‘voice’ harnessing social media to organise themselves and share information. This level of active participation as people engage more vocally with organisations and each other is likely to grow and increase in momentum.

Using technology people will connect and collaborate in new ways causing disruption to established order. People’s shopping habits will continue the trend from ‘bricks’ to better-informed ‘clicks’. Consumers will be more active and demanding in their relationships with businesses; ‘I like this’ or…

Milestones in the control shift

Posted: 15th December, 2011 | 0 comments

So much has happened and changed in 2011 and the control shift is well underway. We've captured below some of the significant milestones that have unfolded this year with links to the relevant news items taken from our Market Watch.

Consumer empowerment

Consumer habits are rapidly changing driven by technology and use of social media. Consumers are becoming hyper connected and active participants in markets and they are recognising the power of acting collectively (think Occupy London). They are changing their shopping habits: according to Reevoo’s research nearly 90% of respondents would not purchase a product before reading others’…

Spring 2012 research schedule

Posted: 1st December, 2011 | 0 comments

We're now planning our next research reports and we'd like your input.

We're already committed to two reports (see below) and would like to choose two more from the options list. Feedback very welcome.

Privacy comparisons. Which of the top 100 e-commerce e-tailers has the best privacy policy and which has the worst?

Decision-making market. As a follow-on from our work on personal information management services (PIMS), we look at the broad scope of suppliers in this market and chart what benefits consumers get from making better decisions.

Options for early 2012 -

The Personal Data Store (PDS) market.…

Playing down good news isn’t something one expects from politicians these days, but there’s at least one real driver for growth buried in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement. In it he announced new Open Data measures, and this signals a battery of initiatives that will present new and exciting opportunities to outperform our decreased growth forecast. According to the Cabinet Office the measures will, ‘open up public sector data to make travel easier and healthcare better, and create significant growth for industry and jobs in the UK.’ More Open Data will ‘allow entrepreneurs to develop useful applications for business and consumers’.…

The new personal data landscape

Posted: 22nd November, 2011 | 0 comments

At our recent event ‘To hoard or to share: midata and the personal data-sharing revolution’ Alan Mitchell discussed the Government’s midata programme in the broader context of changes to the personal data landscape. We’ve now published a report on the New Personal Data Landscape that identifies these transformational trends, highlights the emerging market for new personal data management services and analyses the opportunities and threats for organisations.

For the last fifty years organisations have had a monopoly on the collection and use of customer data. But this is changing. Individuals are starting to collect and manage their…

Exciting times - a new tipping point

Posted: 23rd September, 2011 | 0 comments

Many of you familiar with our work will have heard us use the phrase "tipping point"; and one of these may well have emerged with Facebook Gestures - as one commentator put it Prepare for the Oversharing Explosion. Well, we think we've reached a smaller one, albeit still significant, in our business - it is time to expand! It's exciting and you may be able to help us.

First up, we're after two business development professionals. And no, we're not using BDM as a euphemism for sales. We need two people who can listen carefully to our clients'…

Autumn 2011 research programme

Posted: 5th September, 2011 | 0 comments

We're now planning our Autumn research programme and are looking for input on the top three projects and some suggestions for what we should cover in early 2012.

October - PIMS 2 - the personal information management market

This report is about the market that changes markets - how third party vendors are helping consumers work across markets.

Building on Ctrl-Shift’s 2010 initial foray into this market, the report is focused on how services are being built to allow consumers to keep information about themselves in one easy to manage place. The report will include updates on Mint, MoneyStrands, Google…

Innovating out of stagnation

Posted: 31st August, 2011 | 0 comments

Innovating out of stagnation is the only way out of our current economic situation. Utilising and capitalising on the vast untapped wealth of information now available is one of the key areas for focus argues a succession of business thinkers. Enter the Control Shift.

One can look at the global economic situation and think that there is no hope for creating new opportunities and just to knuckle down, keep your head down and keep doing the same but with less. Or worse, to respond with the complacency that a few fiscal cuts and shoring-up the banks will be enough too…

Just come across the House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee’s report on Government’s use of IT. Entitled “recipe for rip-offs: time for a new approach” it covers lots of things but one in particular struck my eye.

Here are its conclusions on the specific issue of Personal Data Ownership.

“Giving control of personal data to the individual has the potential to improve data quality while reducing both costs and risks. Individuals are used to controlling their own data with private sector companies, such as Amazon and with utility companies.
Moving to a model where the citizen maintains…

Instead of establishing a huge, centralised National Identity Scheme, the Government wants to establish a decentralised market of competing private sector identity providers. Each will provide an identity assurance service, so that public sector and other providers can be confident of the identity of the person they are dealing with. For some organisations, the Identity Assurance Programme offers a straightforward business opportunity to become an Identity Provider.

Ctrl-Shift's briefing on this new programme reveals that if the new approach works it should bring three major benefits:

• Reduced risk and lower costs for both organisations and individuals via standardised processes…

We are setting out to track the ‘control shift’ through a tracking survey that will, over time, provide evidence of which changes are unnfolding, where, at what pace, with what impacts and implications. Our initial research is now available and it sets a benchmark to track that progress.

The research is based on a GB representative sample of nearly 1500 consumers surveyed in April 2011. Fieldwork was conducted between 28 April and 5 May 2011, with 1464 adults responding.

After the raw data was collated (data tables are available), Ctrl-Shift analysed the data to draw its conclusions. The analysis looks…

The Ctrl-Shift Explorers' Club met on May 12 to share experiences and understanding of the changing consumer market place. It was an eclectic mix. Attendees included large corporations and small businesses; public and private sectors; different vertical markets; and suppliers of marketing services and the creators of some of the new tools available to consumers.

The event had plenty of time for discussion around a number of topics we've been researching including

The Government’s ‘mydata’ initiative - what the paper says, what the implications are, and what companies should do to take advantage of the hidden radicalism in this…

May newsletter

Posted: 6th May, 2011 | 0 comments

The May newsletter covers the Government's mydata, a Europe wide assessment of consumer empowerment, a market round-up and to plug your chance to meet the Control Shift team next week.
The Government’s mydata initiative - covered in our last newsletter -  is moving to its next stage. We’re glad to announce that Ctrl-Shift will be working with Department of Business Innovation and Skills as a member of the Project Board to set up the programme of work and make the strategy a reality.

The initiative aims to encourage companies holding customer data to release the data back…

A new EU-wide research survey published in April 2011, has shown that the UK lags behind many other countries according to a consumer empowerment index. The research revealed that less than 50% of the 56,000 respondents (in 29 countries answering 70 questions) felt confident, knowledgeable and protected as consumers.

The European Commission said that the "results show that consumer awareness and skills are worryingly low. However, there is a considerable potential to empower consumers and thereby to improve consumer welfare and reduce consumer detriment. The internet and the media have a key role to play in…

The Government’s new programme 'Better Choices: Better Deals' represents a significant acceleration in the trend towards consumer empowerment. They even call it a ‘Consumer Empowerment Strategy’. We’ve prepared a mydata briefing on what this means for organisations. It’s free!


The announcement is a first on two fronts:

1) Its ‘mydata’ programme encourages companies to release data they hold about individuals back to them, so that they can use this data for their own purposes. This is the first major Government initiative, globally, towards a changed personal data consensus: personal data is a personal asset, and individuals should have…

Government's Mydata strategy

Posted: 12th April, 2011 | 0 comments

Today the Government launched its new Better Choices: Better Deals Consumer Empowerment strategy, of which Mydata is a key part.


Mydata is an initiative to encourage businesses to release data back to individuals in a portable re-usable way - so that the data becomes a useful resource for the individual as well as for the company.


This is a landmark move towards personal information empowerment.  Ctrl-Shift attended a special Roundtable at No 10 Downing Street as part of the consultations around this proposal. I was asked to give a short presentation. Here is what I said:

We're still progressing our thinking on how to provide the consumer side of the evidence of the control shift. Thanks to those who commented on the original (either on site or via email). We are now close to our final questions (see below). We're looking to get these out on a survey before Easter and reporting back at our Explorers' Club in May.

Our Questions:

Trend: information as a tool in the hands of the individual (decision-making)

1. When making a non-routine purchase, the first thing I do is seek out independent information…

I’ve just been reading the World Economic Forum’s report Personal Data: The Emergence of New Asset Class.


Here are some of the key points in the report.  First, it highlights the vast amounts of personal data that are now being generated and that this data (‘digital data created by and about people’) “is generating a new wave of opportunity for economic and societal value creation.”


It continues: “Increasing the control that individuals have over the manner in which their personal data is collected, managed and shared will spur a host of new services and applications. As some…

Tracking the control shift

Posted: 29th March, 2011 | 0 comments

We're about to start our longest ever project - one that we think will take us to 2020 and maybe beyond. And we need your help.

We're setting out on a simple task: to track the change in control from provider to buyer. Much has already happened but much more is still to come. We want to be able to provide evidence of that change. We're already looking at what companies are doing and how their behaviours and practices are changing.

Now it is time for the consumer or buyer to have their say. We're going to be running a…

Marketing's future

Posted: 25th March, 2011 | 0 comments

Interesting little debate between myself (Alan Mitchell) and marketing profs Mark Ritson and Tim Ambler within the pages of the marketing press.

They've taken offence that I've said we need to reinvent marketing. At the heart of it lies what I see as a contradiction at the heart of the marketing project.

On the one hand, marketers say marketing is about identifying and meeting customer needs.

Then, in the same breath they say marketing is about changing customer attitudes and behaviours and influencing their decisions.

Within the current set-up this is an impasse because marketers probably want to…

40 Ways to Engage with your Customers

People use the words ‘Customer Engagement’ to mean all sorts of things, so we talked to a wide range of businesses to see what's actually happening.

Something more profound than just channel change is happening. New, digital, ways of engaging with customers are:

bypassing traditional gatekeepers to customers such as retailers and media owners,
creating new, direct connections with customers for brands previously without a direct customer relationship,
opening up opportunities to add new forms of value for customers,
creating simultaneous opportunities for organisations to elicit valuable information from…

Reflections on data

Posted: 16th March, 2011 | 0 comments

Thanks to the DMA for an excellent conference on 16 March. We were speaking - more on that anon - but also being a delegate, it was a chance to listen. It seemed as though there are two audiences. First up are the marketers - who were interested in how they could better use data they already have. Second were the compliance officers, who seemed more interested in protecting their asset. There was some sense that the two groups have reached a concordat - what is that we can get away with yet stay on the right side of the…

Great day out at an event run by the helpful people at Telco2.0. The key issue under discussion were the future business models for the telco industry and one of the main themes was customer data.

The core of that discussion was that Telcos collect a lot of customer data and the issue was how that could be exploited?! Hmm not a great starting point. However the presentation from Phil Laidler, a Telco2.0 director and analyst, that followed certainly caused discussion. The presentation was based on a group discussion of about 40 people organised by Telco2.0 on…

Fundamental, radical shift of control over personal data back to the individual is on the agenda whichever main party wins the next election. From the Labour manifesto yesterday:
We will explore how to give citizens direct access to the data held on them by public agencies, so that people can use and control their own personal data in their interaction with service providers
From the Conservative manifesto:
Wherever possible, we believe that personal data should be controlled by individual citizens themselves.
This principle is key to the "Control Shift". It will be government policy.…

CRM: a worm turns

Posted: 19th March, 2010 | 0 comments

I’ve nicked the following extracts from a report by Neil Davey at

Of course we’ve been saying this sort of stuff for years. But it’s good that people like Gartner are finally getting round to recognising it: it shows which way the wind is blowing.

“Kicking off the London Summit, Gartner VP Steve Prentice painted a daunting portrait of the sector, describing how issues relating to data, reputation, trust and customer empowerment are all undermining CRM efforts. In short, customer relationship management’s days may be numbered, he said, as a new age of ‘customer managed relationships’ begins.
"Among the…

Next steps on VPI

Posted: 24th February, 2010 | 0 comments

Interest in the trend towards Volunteered Personal Information seems to be gathering pace.

To see our recent presentation at the IDM Data Council on VPI, click here.

CIOs and the control shift

Posted: 27th December, 2009 | 0 comments

HMG's Chief Information Officer John Suffolk has posted on the role of the CIO in the light of the control shift
I think there is a move towards the CIO title being taken over by a very important person indeed – your Customer, or in my case the Citizen. Yes the Customer (or Citizen) Information Owner. This is not the marketing department who believe they own all the customer information, nor is it the salesman who historically attempted to keep all his data on his clients so only he/she could sell to them. This is the Customer/Citizen owning…

The four waves of consumer empowerment

Posted: 11th December, 2009 | 0 comments

To be honest we weren’t that surprised at the results of our recent research: for all the talk about consumer empowerment most consumers don’t feel that empowered … yet.

Does that mean ‘the trend towards increased consumer empowerment’ is all hype? I don’t think so. I think it means we need to dig deeper into what ‘consumer empowerment’ actually looks like, and how (and therefore) where it is unfolding.

The first level is choice. The classic arena of choice is between competing products and services. More recently however, consumers have also gained much greater choice over the sources of…

The new rules of customer data

Posted: 11th November, 2009 | 0 comments

Last night, eloquently supported by William Heath, I gave a master class on Volunteered Personal Information for the IDM (Institute of Direct Marketing).

My concluding summary was:

•    We are in the midst of a once-in-a-century tipping point in the information flows in our society: from ‘top down’ (organisation to individual) to ‘bottom up’ (individuals to organisations and each other).
•    Marketing as we know it was constructed around the assumptions and operational requirements of ‘top down’.
•    Most of its current problems and constraints are a by-product of this heritage.
•    In the course of organising…

What is your VPI score?

Posted: 18th August, 2009 | 0 comments

How do you know if you are going in the right direction with the issue of personal information management? Here is a suggestion for a simple, practical scoring system.

It builds on the concepts of ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ personal information management (PIM). The weakest PIM scenario is where individuals have no control over how or whether their data is collected, who uses it, or for what purposes. The list broking industry is a good example of very weak PIM.

Under very strong PIM, individuals have complete control over what information they volunteer to whom, for what purposes, under what…

John Suffolk, the UK government CIO, has started a blog and wonders about the future of the IT industry. He foresees big changes - cloud computing, software as a service and greener IT with fewer data centres. But what about the rise of volunteered personal information? I added this comment:
Dear John - Great to see you blogging - I wish this every success.

I wonder if we should also take into account the continuing rise of the individual as data manager and logical point of integration, and its effect on value, on personalised services and the…