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Contribution : "An ethical use of data is a competitive advantage" by Marion Rampini

Contributing to the strengthening of both brand image and customer relations, the use of personal data is becoming a major asset for firms and is forming “a competitive advantage”, according to EY’s survey. For the culture sector, this data creates huge development opportunities. By supervising its uses by a code of best practices and a data officer, cultural organizations would adopt an ethical and pro-active process, and would stimulate their activities and their visibility.

Securing customers’ trust and loyalty, providing them with bespoke offers

The collaborative platform of the Dallas Museum of Art, The DMA Friends, giving access to activities and personalised offers to discover the museum differently, is an illustrative example of these benefits. Upon enrolment, the visitors state their name and email address, and are given precise information on the uses and management of their personal data. Collected in real time, this data helps the museum to adapt its strategy in reflection of visitation trends. Since its 2013 debut, more than 100 000 people have enrolled, and the program is being replicated in other American museums. This project underlines the necessary partnership between data protection and innovation, which could if balanced, exceed regulatory requirements. This partnership can be supported through many actions, such as legally implementing a “right to experiment”[1], or initiating discussion around the monetization of data.

Opening to other fields, more particularly through Open Data

With the cooperation of public authorities, private firms and the community, Open Data allows to cut the costs linked to the collection and use of personal data, its commercial exploitation, and the creation of an ecosystem of applications, encouraging the implementation of innovative services. Supporting creativity, innovation and knowledge diffusion, Open data is used particularly by the cultural and creative industries, as evidenced by the OpenGLAM[2] initiative in the United Kingdom. The British Library, one of largest collections of metadata-enriched documentary heritage, initiated their own kind of  “Cloud Culture”, with more than one million of digital reproductions uploaded on Flickr since December 2013. Their objective is to keep enriching the data related to these images, and to invite visitors to comment and share their knowledge on these images, in order to learn more of the visitors’ uses and expectations.

Both of these examples underline the fact that instead of opposing precaution to innovation in data-driven strategies, it is more the case of balancing their uses, in transparency, and encouraging the development of Open data, which will engage cultural industries in the implementation of innovative projects and will develop their ecosystem.

[1] This notion underlines the need of specific regulatory for each field, in order to support innovation. The 2030 Commission, directed by Anne Lauvergeon, proposes it. Cf., Un principe et sept ambitions pour l’innovation, 2013. The Preliminary Declaration of the Digital Human Rights proposes also to balance research and innovation. Forum d’Avignon,

[2] GLAM meaning Galleries, Libraries, Archives, Museums.

About Marion Rampini

Graduated from ESCP Europe / Ca' Foscari / Ecole du Louvre. A passionate enthusiast in the Big data Revolution, its economic and societal impact, and the innovation it spurs. Provides analysis of digital uses and practices. Publishes on the stakes of Big data in the field of culture, especially with regards to museums.

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On Twitter : @MarionRampini