About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Open Data Challenge Series likely to have healthy return on investment over three years

Earlier today we published the final report from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on the potential impact of the Open Data Challenge Series (ODCS). For those of you who have been involved in the challenges you will have come to know the PwC team who provided support to finalists and winners and helped us to assess their performances. Another part of their role was to help us understand what the likely longer term impact of the ODCS would be. Having spoken to finalists and winners from the challenges and got under the skin of their plans over the next three years, PwC have put together this report which summarises their findings. The headline finding is that for every pound spent on the ODCS there is likely to be a return to the economy of between £5-£10 after three years.

Although this is an early estimate of the likely impact, this is a very encouraging indication, suggesting that all the effort spent by the teams and participants who took part in the ODCS will have a positive impact on the economy. Beyond the economic impact, PwC also looked at the broader social and environmental impacts of the ODCS, and again it looks likely we will see a positive impact here. The programme was originally designed to support ambitious teams to use open data for social good, so it is rewarding to think that there will be longer term social impact from the products and services which came out of the Challenge. Having worked closely with the teams, we had a suspicion this was the case, but it’s also nice to have this validation from an external party.

Obviously the true test of the impact of the finalists and winners will be to see how they fare over the next couple of years and we look forward to seeing how they do. You might be interested to read our updated Handbook which now includes details of PiC who won the Jobs Open Data Challenge and our impact statement. If you’re interested in running an open data challenge please do get in touch with us by hitting the Get Involved button on our new website and we’d be happy to explore options.


Ed Parkes

Ed Parkes

Ed Parkes

Senior Programme Manager

Ed worked in the Innovation Lab in Nesta, as the Senior Programme Manager for the Open Data Challenge Series, which was run in partnership with the Open Data Institute.

View profile