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4 Ways Data-Sharing Enables Innovation

Innovation is an act of disrupting established systems, and something that’s often as affected by missing information as it is by the overwhelming amount of it there is to sift through. The big data movement — which seeks, on the business end, to take huge, complex data sets and analyze them to determine industry patterns, facilitate growth, and track large-scale consumer trends — will likely prove to be a crucial component of innovation in the very near future.

What’s proving to be necessary is access to that data, and to get it, processes that enable sharing across organizations and platforms. Here are the 4 key ways that data-sharing enables innovation, and why they’re an important move for any business.

1. More concrete predictions of market needs.

We already use data analysis to shape strategies and seek out opportunities for growth. Innovation often springs from unexpected perspectives — an environment where interested parties from various organizations can share knowledge would mean a larger, more diverse pool of information and resources, which would help us more accurately translate customer behaviors and needs into actions.

2. Transparency means usability.

Share is really just another way to say collaborate, and we’ve talked before about the value of B2B collaboration and open innovation. Gaining access to collaborative research, experimentation, and testing means we can further segment groups of customers, and as a result, provide more precisely tailored products and services.

3. Exploiting expertise makes us think creatively.

Combining intellectual capital has long been a method of kick-starting the innovative process, so why not use the same tactic with all of our resources? Different companies are good at different things, and that’s evident both in the ways they collect data and how they use it. Capitalizing on the expertise and approaches of different entities makes data-sharing a dynamic vehicle for the dissemination and proactive use of knowledge.

4. The focus can return to finding the best solutions, not the cheapest ones.

“An innovative edge is honed with research,” says Rick Spinrad, VP of Research at Oregon State University. “But the costs of doing research are skyrocketing…equipment costs, supplies, personnel, and the costs of compliance have all escalated.” With data-sharing in place, overall costs are distributed across organizations, significantly reducing the financial impact on individual teams. That means everybody can get back to the drawing board and develop truly innovative practices without wondering if budget constraints will extinguish breakthroughs.

With age-old privacy and security concerns expectedly in place, and intellectual property rights remaining nebulous, outlining data-sharing protocol will be a challenge every company has to face. However, smart companies know that anything worth doing comes at a price, and innovation — not to mention the coveted competitive edge that comes with it — is worth it.

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