Creating Data Unions Faster: Pool’s catalyst programme

By Craig Danton


By Craig Danton
Creating Data Unions Faster: Pool’s catalyst programme

Starting next month, Pool and Open Innovations will be launching a programme to help speed up the development of data unions, a new paradigm for data sharing. We’ll do this by bringing leading data unions and some of the world’s largest data buyers together in a two month programme.

So what’s a data union? 

Sometimes also referred to as a data cooperative, or data trust, a data union (DU) is a digital organization that aggregates data from tens or hundreds of thousands of data creators into a single monetizable data product. When that data product sells, that value is shared with the DU operators and its members. It’s a new ethical model for data buyers to purchase streams of data from people who actually want it to be shared. 

DUs are the only real way to ensure genuine consent, honest governance, integrity of provenance and equitable economics. While they are still a relatively new concept, dozens already exist, capturing data as varied as banking transactions, geolocations, and web browsing data. Increasing public and regulatory scrutiny over traditional 3rd party data vendors is further accelerating this trend. Pool vehemently believes that data unions are the future of data sharing and monetization. 

Why do data unions need a catalyst?

All data unions share a common set of challenges. They need the infrastructure to market and distribute their data, as well as the rails to accept payments and distribute the proceeds fairly and securely. And this is where Pool began; building infrastructure to specifically address these challenges. By leveraging Web3 technologies like blockchain we keep the costs of transactions low, passing more value back to DU members. But infrastructure still won’t solve all the problems data unions face.  

Like any other data business, creating a product that people want is the real challenge. How do data unions know that getting thousands of people to contribute their data will lead to a product that buyers want to subscribe to? If their products aren’t what data buyers want, everyone fails. Data union members won’t get paid and the data union operators (DUOs) will have wasted millions on a fruitless endeavour.

That is why Pool and Open Innovations are bringing together data unions and data buyers in a product catalyst programme. We want data union products to be shaped by the very people who will purchase them.

What will this catalyst programme involve? 

Data buyers want products with strong market signal that meet a high ethical bar and have clear provenance. DUs can provide all this but it will require rapid iteration and feedback to arrive at a compelling offering. We want our data union operators (DUOs) to be the most well informed in the business about what they need to do (on behalf of their members) to succeed. So at the heart of this programme will be an exchange of knowledge between expert data buyers, data science users, and the DUOs building the products.

Leading this coordination work will be Open Innovations:  a mission-led non-profit organisation with deep experience of and capability with open & shared data, innovation, ethics, and making a difference using the Web. For Pool, this catalyst programme allows us to grow our ecosystem and expand the number of products on our upcoming data marketplace. We are excited to have already partnered with three data unions who will form the first cohort. During the course of the programme they will receive: 

  • In-depth feedback from leading data buyers
  • Technical and data science mentorship to harden data products 
  • Assistance with legal and ethical frameworks for compliance
  • Acceleration of user adoption strategies 
  • Favourable listing on the Pool Marketplace 

This inaugural cohort will serve as the pilot for a full-fledged, incubation programme where innovators are facilitated to go from an idea to full scale product within 3-4 months. 

Please see our main site for more details….

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By Craig Danton

Craig Danton is the Head of Growth for Pool

By Craig Danton