Across the world, significant time and resources are being invested in making government data accessible to all with the broad goal of improving people’s lives. The 2016 Open Data Barometer found that 79 out of 115 countries examined have an open data portal. As of September 2017,, the United States’ open data portal, provides access to 302,614 datasets. Meanwhile, 54 countries across the globe have adopted the International Open Data Charter.

Evidence of open data’s impact—on improving governance, empowering citizens, creating economic opportunity, and solving public problems—is emerging and is largely encouraging.

Yet much of the potential value of open data remains untapped, in part because we often do not understand who is using open data or, more importantly, who is not using open data but could benefit from the insights it may generate. By identifying, prioritizing, segmenting, and engaging with the actual and future demand for open data in a systemic and systematic way, practitioners can ensure that open data is more targeted.

We know that we cannot simply focus on releasing open data, nor can we build a portal without understanding its possible uses and demand. Yet, we often do just that. Understanding and meeting the demand for open data can increase overall impact and return on investment of public funds.

This resource provides open data policymakers and practitioners with an approach for identifying, segmenting, and engaging with demand. This process specifically seeks to empower data champions within public agencies who want to improve their data’s ability to improve people’s lives.

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