Why The Data Tank?

3D image of The Data Tank

The Data Tank. Serving the common good together, by using data differently

Data is an essential part of our everyday lives. But many of us feel confused, concerned or sidelined by it, because the digital world moves so fast.  And yet, the data that concerns us has amazing potential.  If it’s used in a responsible way, it will help us to make better informed decisions about our future.

We must unlock data’s potential now

Time is not on our side as our planet faces deep social, economic and environmental change, heightened by a succession of crises, including the pandemic and the conflict in Ukraine. These pressing challenges show how interdependent we are. To tackle them, we need access to meaningful, trustworthy data – current data that allows us to keep pace with events and make critical decisions under pressure.

Changing the debate about data  

Until now, the conversation around data has been dominated by concerns about privacy, protection and profit. As headlines about AI, chatbots and IoT multiply, our concern increases. Data is the foundation for all these innovations. If that data is biased or incomplete, how can we make reliable decisions or distinguish between truth and lies? This debate is understandable and valid. But it distracts from the fact that a lot of vital data is being neglected. People can’t access it, to reuse or share it. And other data, that should be collected, is not being collected at all. The problem is not just about data misuse. It is also about missed opportunities to reuse data. And making sure that vital data isn’t missing in the first place. We can’t afford to have gaps in our knowledge when we make decisions about pressing global challenges such as social inequality, climate change and economic disruption. As a community, we must take the lead in gathering, accessing and reusing data in a targeted and responsible way, to benefit society as a whole.  

Doing this together

At The Data Tank we partner with organizations and individuals across the globe, who believe in our mission to serve the common good by using data differently. They span private, public and voluntary sectors, and include universities, businesses and governmental bodies.  We pool the learning from people doing innovative hands-on work, identifying best practice from projects all over the world. And we share those examples with policy makers, so they can draw on the latest thinking – and doing – to shape Data Governance in the coming months and years.

Creating the space to do it

Our  vision means a significant shift in how we all think about data: how we access it and what we do with it. It’s a very different place to the one where we live now, which is full of worry about privacy, security and hoarding.  It’s not easy to move towards a world where data is reused and shared, willingly and responsibly.  We understand that. We all want reassurance that it can be done safely. Which is why we need to create aparticipatory framework to establish a Social License, to reuse data in waysthat can serve the common good. And where trusted Data Stewards will help to create that change, every day.

Serving the common good together, by using data differently

Discover what we do

Our Funders

We thank our funders for their support and trust.
Stiftung Mercator
Robert Bosch Stiftung
Kind Baudouin Foundation
Fondazione Compagnia di SanPaolo
3D images of The Data Tank Team
Serving the common good together, by using data differently