Hosted by Otago University across 2021 - 2022, The Collaborative designed, and program managed the i4 initiative to build a greater understanding and appreciation of the value of data, bringing people together from different sectors to share both public and private data for the benefit of society and the equitable spread of economic opportunity.
Upon its completion in late 2022, the i4 Program was incorporated into New Zealand's Digital Industry Transformation Plan.
From this plan (page 31):
The value of using data to create new products and services is one of the core foundations of the digital economy. Data fuels growth, drives innovation, and enables the development of new products and services developed by the digital technologies sector, including for other sectors.
Data and analytics are now being viewed as an increasingly important asset, helping to drive economic development and build competitive advantage. Data is a critical factor in production, complementing labour, physical capital, and is a key asset for innovation.
Having greater access to data resources is critical for the future growth of the digital technologies sector. Adoption and use of data-driven technologies such as the Internet of Things, 5G and AI are also driving the increased datafcation of the global economy.
However, within New Zealand, many organisations continue to have low data maturity with relatively few embracing data as a basis for making decisions at the upper management or board level. Instead, many New Zealand decision-makers prefer to rely on “gut feel” and experience.
A Productivity Commission report addressing capability at the board level found the necessary cultural shifts evident in overseas markets have not occurred within New Zealand.20 One result of this low data maturity is a general under-appreciation of the value of data, leading to slower adoption of data-driven technologies and business models that could boost innovation and productivity across the economy. In turn, this can impact the digital technologies sector as a data-intensive industry.
To begin to address these issues, MBIE, together with the i4 Group (a consortium of industry, academia, and not-for-profit stakeholders) across 2021/22 established and executed the i4 Data Driven Innovation Education Pilot.
The objective of the pilot was to promote widespread understanding of the value of data and support the use of data-driven technologies to help fuel innovation, productivity, sustainability, and inclusion. This pilot created a platform to share resources, including tools that businesses can draw from to better understand the value of data and the opportunities that the sharing and pooling of data can provide, not only for their organisation, but for the entire New Zealand economy.