Why do we exist?
MyData is a human-centric and ethical approach to personal data, which aims at a far, sustainable, and prosperous digital society for all. In this society, people get value from their data and set the agenda on how their data is used. In this society, the ethical use of personal data is always the most attractive course of action for organisations.
In order to make this vision a reality, we believe three major paradigm shifts need to take place. These shifts were first described in 2017, when the MyData community co-created the MyData Declaration, underlining the need for human-centricity and agency in the data economy.
To reach the vision, we need the shifts …
From Formal to Actionable Rights
We should be able effortlessly, seamlessly and instantaneously to exercise our digital rights when using digital services, aka one-click rights.
From Data Protection to Data Empowerment
We should not be treated as merely “subjects who need to be protected”, but rather autonomous human beings with the will, agency, opportunities, skills and tools to make use of our personal data – as we like.
From Closed to Open Ecosystems
There is a level playing field and fair competition between all sizes of companies, which will replace current virtual monopolies and produce a real choice between good alternatives for people.
And yes, this vision is huge! Luckily we’re not alone: rather, we are part of the larger movement towards a new paradigm for personal data use gaining force and momentum all around the world. We will only succeed if we work together.
Our strategy and Theory of Change summarised
Our key strategic goal for the period 2020-2022 is to accelerate practical advances towards the three shifts of the MyData Declaration by developing the skills, knowledge and connections of people in the MyData community and more widely in the digital services industries. How do we do it and why is described in our Theory of Change.
So here’s what our Theory of Change looks like:
But what does this all mean? Let’s break it down.
What we’re doing to get started
The bottom of the Theory of Change describes the impact areas we have identified for our work and our core activities in those areas, in short, what we are doing now.
We’re known for connecting communities through vibrant and action-oriented, multi-stakeholder meetings. Face-to-face meetings are particularly important for the cohesion and engagement of any community. The success of our global conferences and other events has established MyData as a warm, welcoming, and close community. The unique strategic contribution of MyData Events is to provide opportunities for face-to-face meetings, which are crucial for community cohesion and wellbeing.
Our thought leadership is a prerequisite for any impact we have on the world: it shapes the direction of our joint activities and defines the change we want to see in the world. Our thought leadership is the spearhead that opens the way to innovation in the personal data space both theoretically and practically. A key initiative in the short- and medium-term is to establish the MyData Academy training and certification programme as a vehicle for collecting, synthesising, developing, and disseminating the expertise and thought leadership in the MyData community.
Ecosystem facilitation means bringing together the people and organisations that are really developing and providing MyData services and enabling solutions in practice, or willing to build them. The aim of facilitating the development of MyData Ecosystems is to increase the speed of development and learning and at the same time find common direction on a journey towards interoperability.
Outreach and communications
Outreach and communications means the planned activities to reach our stakeholders with the intent to spread our core message, promote examples and doers in our community, and to amplify our organisational presence. The key activity in this area is the continued production and promotion of MyData Publications, such as expert webinars, a library of case studies, and white papers which will become respected, go-to resources for the personal data community. Effective outreach will also produce a measurable change in the reach, reputation and level of activity of the MyData organisation.
So, who are we anyway?
MyData Global is an award-winning international nonprofit association founded in late 2018 after years of community-building efforts and a successful series of global conferences. We are politically non-aligned and emphatically collaborative, not antagonistic, by nature. We approach this complex set of issues from a diverse range of backgrounds and perspectives. We speak of the four perspectives of the BLT Sandwich:
What new kinds of business models are needed when developing new services based on sharing personal data across services? What needs to happen to show that ethical business can be better business?
How can different forms of legislation and regulation (and their enforcement) provide ingredients for solutions that enable the shift to a fair and sustainable digital world? How can legislation be a driver for innovation, not a blocker?
How can technology be wielded for the benefit of individuals and especially to protect human rights? How can technologies around personal data be harnessed to help the individuals, provide efficient public services – and help us reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals?
How can individuals, communities and societies collectively use, share and benefit from personal data and grow towards a healthy and thriving data economy for all?
MyData Global is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, and has nearly 90 organisation members and over 600 individual members from over 50 countries. The MyData Global organisation also has 25 local hubs in locations on six continents and 4 thematic groups (Design, Health, A New Governance and MyData Operators).
We facilitate the 2000+ strong MyData community working on the human-centric, ethical use of personal data.
“Let’s do it! How can we contribute?” Glad you asked …
Does all this sound meaningful? How do this vision and strategy resonate with your thinking? Does your organisation align with the MyData thinking? There are many ways we can work together to make it happen! Together we represent a significant voice and as a group, we are making change happen!
The first very simple steps – for organisations and individuals:
- Join the MyData Global organisation – there are now nearly 90 organisations and over 600 individual members
- Sign the MyData Declaration
- Sign up for the MyData Newsletter to stay informed
- Engage with the lively community discussions on Slack – with over 1700 experts from across the world
If you’d like to dive deeper, we also encourage you to
- Read the MyData White Paper (new white papers on specific topics coming up…!)
- Read our Medium posts and previous Community Blog posts
PS. Some reflections on developing our Theory of Change
We built our Theory of Change by focusing our short- and medium-term strategy on our core strengths and unique contributions. This meant that some very hard decisions were made regarding what we were not going to do – for example, because someone else is already doing fine work in those particular areas.
“A Theory of Change is a comprehensive description of how and why a desired change is expected to happen in a particular context. It is focused in particular on mapping out what has been described as the “missing middle” between what an initiative does (its activities or interventions) and how these lead to desired goals being achieved. This is done by first identifying the desired long-term goals and then works back from these to identify all the conditions (outcomes) that must be in place (and how these related to one another causally) for the goals to occur.”
The process for building this Theory of Change for our organisation was incredibly eye-opening and valuable, and we encourage all people and organisations working on effecting change in the world to make one for themselves.
Our work was inspired by Mozilla, PersonalData.io and Hivos – and we’d love to hear your feedback!
We invite each and every company, organisation, and changemaker interested in making the future human-centric to sit down and compare notes with us: where do our Theories of Change overlap, where do our strategies complement each other and how do we boost each other on our parallel journeys?
Get in touch with us at teemu[at]mydata.org or through our Slack (www.mydata.org/slack)