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mydata: we”re off!

Posted on: Friday 10th of June 2011

Just finished two intensive days of meetings with a wide range of companies at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Purpose: to set the mydata ball rolling.


Mydata is a Government Consumer Empowerment initiative to encourage companies to release the data they hold on individuals back to them in a portable re-usable form, so that these individuals can use this information for their own purposes. Ctrl-Shift has been helping BIS get the project off the ground.


A couple of things struck me from these meetings.


First, mydata is an immense opportunity for large organisations to heal the wounds of mistrust created by outdated approaches to the collection, management and use of personal data. Recent Ctrl-Shift research underlined the scale of the chasm that’s opened up between companies and their customers on this front. 93% of consumers either agreed or agreed strongly with the statement “I should be able to control what information organisations collect about me and what they use this information for”.


Second, the more we look at it, the more opportunities mydata seems to open up, sometimes to cut costs but especially to spawn new services. I think it’s beginning to dawn on some companies that this could be a chance to reinvent their business models and finesse the competition. If we look at the link between smart metering and mydata-style data release for example, energy companies could morph from arms-length commodity suppliers to (potentially) trusted energy, appliance purchase and use and environmental advisors. (More on such opportunities in further blog posts.)


Then there’s the bigger picture. In many ways, this initiative could help kick-start the biggest growth industry of the 21st century.


What are the two things that every consumer has to do, day in and day out, no matter how rich or poor, no matter what  lifestyle or demographic segment, no matter what aspect of their life? They have to make decisions. And they have to implement these decisions. To make better decisions and implement these decisions better, they need better access and use of information. This requires the provision of such information and a new breed of personal information management services (PIMS) to process it.


PIMS are not just a massive growth industry. They herald a fundamental reorientation of the economy.

*  From: an organisation-centric industrial age, organised around whatever is needed to improve the supply of goods and services – by the voice and requirements of supply.
*  To: a person-centric information age, organised around whatever is needed to improve individuals’ decision-making and decision-implementing processes – by the voice and requirements of demand.


All in all, there are some very interesting dynamic unfolding here. It will be fascinating to see how they unfold.


Alan Mitchell