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Inspiration Wednesday: Big Data and Open Innovation for a Better Future

January 31, 2013

While it’s no secret that Big Data has already affected major impacts on just about every aspect of human life, the degree to which it may ultimately benefit humanity is just now becoming clear. From healthcare to poverty to crime prevention and beyond, the possible positive applications of Big Data seem to know no bounds. But there’s one factor that has the power to either limit or broaden the scale of that potential, and that’s accessibility.

A recent piece entitled “3 Huge Things Big Data and Open Innovation Challenges are Helping to Transform” in TopCoder.com examined the combined potential of open innovation competitions and Big Data for generating positive change in multiple areas. The article focused on three main areas in which the two have jointly resulted in some very positive outcomes already: atrocity prevention through predictive modeling, human longevity advancements through gene sequencing of centenarians, and energy.

Truth be told, there probably isn’t much that can’t be solved through the combination of transparent, open data and intelligent minds working together. It’s all about access – giving people the tools (data) and the opportunity/motivation (challenges) they need to do it. Which is part of why Big Data holds such promise – it’s a powerful, wide-reaching tool with limitless potential and myriad applications, and the more people that have access to it, the more powerful it becomes. The opportunities expand exponentially.

As the relatively new field of Big Data collection and analysis expands and matures, and more and more data sets are made open to the public, innovation and data-enabled solutions will inevitably thrive, contributing to positive change.

Transparent data and smart teamwork… the possibilities are endless.