CABI Blog

In today’s data-driven world, understanding and leveraging data ecosystems is paramount for organizations aiming to achieve impactful outcomes. This is exemplified by work being carried out through the CABI-led project ‘Enabling FAIR data sharing and responsible data use.’

The project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recognizes that collecting, using, generating and storing data is costly and takes time. When data is not FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable), the effort of collecting data is often duplicated, or data is lost or overlooked, meaning its value can be lost.

By fostering data accessibility, promoting collaboration, driving evidence-based decision-making, supporting sustainable development, and building trust, data ecosystems offer immense value. Investing in and nurturing robust data ecosystems is key to unlocking the full potential of data for societal and organizational benefit.

Data ecosystem mapping to understand the enabling environment

As part of the project, CABI’s data policy and practice theme has been using data ecosystem mapping to understand the enabling environment in a project engaging stakeholders and enhancing feedback loops for better system insights.

By sharing these visual maps, stakeholders co-create comprehensive views of ecosystems, fostering understanding and collaboration. CABI has been using Kumu – an innovative tool to create data ecosystem maps – designed to simplify the process of organizing and visualizing complex data.

Through Kumu, tackling complex problems becomes more manageable, enabling us to develop solutions that are both effective and sustainable. By transforming intricate information into dynamic relationship maps, Kumu helps users make sense of systems, people, and concepts.

Informative maps that facilitate better decision-making

Kumu offers intuitive visualizations that enhance understanding and communication for various aspects like stakeholder mapping, system mapping, or any other type of relational analysis.

CABI’s data policy and practice theme has been working in this space since 2018 to understand the complex systems under the enabling data access project, engaging stakeholders and enhancing feedback loops for better system insights.

The second step (Understanding enabling environment) of the six steps of the FAIR process framework focusses on the external conditions critical for fostering FAIR data practices throughout a project life cycle.

By sharing these visual maps, stakeholders co-create comprehensive views of ecosystems, fostering understanding and collaboration. CABI has been using Kumu tool to create data ecosystem maps.

Recently, Kumu recognised and acknowledged CABI’s efforts on their LinkedIn page, highlighting how we use their tool to advance our mission in agricultural and environmental issues in the developing world.

A clear snapshot of how the ecosystem functions

As an example, CABI convened a workshop on PlantwisePlus where these Kumu visualizations were shared, and they co-created a clear snapshot of how the ecosystem functions.

PlantwisePlus is a global CABI-led programme which aims to each 75 million smallholder farmers in 27 countries, providing them with access to the knowledge and skills they need to improve their production practices.

Gathering evidence-based feedback in this way allows stakeholders such as regulators, researchers, agro-input manufactures and dealers, policy makers, and plant doctors to see and communicate their critical role in the ecosystem, as well as what steps are involved for impacting the ecosystem positively.

Another Ecosystem map developed by CABI, and featured by Kumu, visualizes the current state and future vision of a geospatial platform. This was part of an investment on climate-smart landscapes for promoting sustainability of Pacific Island agricultural systems.

The Kumu team interviewed Mr Arun Jadhav, Senior data Architect (Data policy and practice), who is leading the related work at CABI. Arun shared how Kumu impresses stakeholders with its dynamic, easy-to-understand visualizations that foster discussions.

Beyond the initial “wow” factor, it facilitates ongoing engagement. The maps created helps gather feedback, and progress based on new insights and perspectives as the users can quickly understand the systems.

Through Kumu, tackling complex problems becomes more manageable, enabling us to develop solutions that are both effective and sustainable. The platform supports seamless data importation, allowing users to create stunning and informative maps that facilitate better decision-making and foster collaborative insights.

Additional information

Main image: A typical data ecosystem.

Presentation

See more in the presentation ‘Data for All – Promoting Equity, Access & Transparency.’

What is a data ecosystem?

A data ecosystem is a visual method for mapping the actors, relationships, and data flows in a project or service, highlighting key value exchanges, and identifying pain points and needed strategies.

Components include resources (data assets including the standards and technologies used to collect, curate, and provide access to those data assets), guidance and policies (informing data use and management) and personas.

Examples include Innovators, Lead Organization Representatives, Researchers, Project Partners/Consultants, Private Sector Liaisons, Third Party Publishers, and Project Officers, etc., and value exchanges (data, insights, reports, funding, etc.).

Why is a Data Ecosystem Important? Identifying and Anticipating Factors Influencing FAIR Data Practices

Creating a Data Ecosystem Map helps in identifying and anticipating those factors that influence FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) data practices. It allows organizations to recognize the actors that influence data creation and its flow and understand the existing relationships within the community and how data will or already flows.

Enabling Broader Community Engagement

A data ecosystem map enables broader engagement within the community, going beyond donors and project implementors. It provides a better understanding of the types of personas that exist within the ecosystem and the challenges they face thus fostering a more inclusive and collaborative environment for data sharing and utilization.

Facilitating Effective Data Management

A well-structured data ecosystem supports effective data management by preparing teams to create an enabling environment for FAIRification. By understanding the factors that will impact the data intervention, organizations can make informed decisions on data collection, processing, and sharing.

Promoting transparency and trust

Transparency and trust are crucial for the success of data-driven initiatives. A data ecosystem map clarifies digital solutions’ roles, promotes open and FAIR data practices, and builds trust among stakeholders. This trust is essential for fostering long-term collaborations and encouraging more entities to participate in the ecosystem.

Project page

Find out more about how CABI is working to address constraints in realizing the value of data as part of the project ‘Enabling FAIR data sharing and responsible data use.’

Relevant stories

‘CABI conducts workshop in India to help pave the way for better FAIR data processes in agriculture.’

‘CABI’s expertise in data policy and practice shared at 2023 Global Digital Development Forum.’

‘CABI shares expertise in data policy and practice at international data conference in India.’

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16 April 2024