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Leveraging Data for the Public Good

While it is widely acknowledged that intangible assets drive our economies and societies, we still lack adequate tools to measure and value them. Governments and businesses must work together to revise the prevailing metrics by which we value such assets.

LONDON – The digital age has taught businesses to see people as individuals rather than just as members of certain demographic cohorts. On social media, we receive personalized ads based on our responses to previous ads, our current location, and our shopping habits. Our massive digital footprint enables companies to know precisely how effective their advertising campaigns are at the individual level and to derive immense value from this knowledge.

Alas, it seems that this technological wave has yet to reach policymakers. Despite the advantages of big data, governments still tend to use a one-size-fits-all approach when planning investments or designing policies. To help improve public services through better use of data, we have developed a new framework we call Quantum Governance.

Every successful business is built on three foundations: a shared goal, which serves as its raison d’être; the tools and methods to achieve it; and consumers, who are motivated by their own interests, ambitions, and beliefs. While it has become a staple of public debate that governments should operate like businesses, that is impossible, because these two types of social organization were created for different purposes. What they do have in common, however, is the human factor. And that should be the focus of public-private partnerships in the digital age.