MyData Global Blog


What has MyData Global achieved thus far and why join our journey


MyData is a human-centric and ethical approach to personal data which aims at a fair, 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, the MyData Global association was established in 2018. Already since 2013, the MyData a diverse community has formed around a human-centric approach for personal data. It is also part of a larger movement with people and organisations working in a similar direction.

The community makes continuous efforts to realise the three major shifts described in the MyData Declaration that are needed for human-centricity in the data economy. To realise the MyData vision, we need the shifts …

We’ve published some great thought leadership, which has introduced new language, policies and ideas


We’ve influenced policy and the work of others with our thought leadership

  • MyData is mentioned in the EU Data strategy (PDF) released in February 2020, as one of the promising initiatives that “promise significant benefits to individuals”.
  • The EU Data Governance Act will regulate data intermediaries, meaning also MyData operators. We’ve been able to influence the Act proposal.
  • MyData was included in the Government Programme of Finland (2019-2022) and in the programme of Finland’s EU Presidency period (2019) and we’ve informed policy development in Canada, Japan and South Korea.
  • MyData has been featured in a number of white papers and reports, such as ones written by the World Economic Forum, Sitra & Lisbon Council, PrivacyTech, Helsinki EU Office and Digital New Deal Foundation.
  • We’ve reached hundreds of key stakeholder organisations, by presenting at events organised by e.g. United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organisation, French National Assembly, European Commission, APEC, as well as Korean, Polish and Finnish governments, and in various international conferences such as RightsCon, Internet Governance Forum, European Big Data Value Forum and many many more.



We’re actively facilitated ecosystems

  • We have awarded now 27 operators (from 18 countries) with the MyData 2020 award and the MyData operators group is “moving at the speed of light”.
  • We are very active in numerous thematic groups. They are the engine for advancing and disseminating MyData thought leadership in their specific domains. Such as
  • We’ve had first experiments with developing joint funding proposals for example for some European projects.


We’ve connected the community

  • We were awarded the NGI Culture Award by the European Commission Next Generation Internet Initiative, where MyData was recognized as one of the most impactful European initiatives.
  • We organised so far the most successful MyData 2019 conference having 975 participants from 46 countries, with 42% representing businesses and 58% nonprofit sector (see report)
  • MyData Online 2020 Conference brought together nearly 600 attendees from 52 countries to meet and collaborate with 250+ presenters on the opportunities and challenges for designing the new normal around a human-centric approach to personal data!All presentation materials will become available on the conference website on a rolling basis. (Re)visit the plenary sessions on our Youtube -channel. Recordings from the breakout sessions will become available by mid-January.


We’ve grown as an organisation and gone global

  • We have created an excellent strategy roadmap towards our vision in our Theory of Change
  • We’ve established the organisation and a network of 28 Local Hubs in 6 continents and 6 new Thematic Groups 
  • We have members from over 50 countriesover 100 organisations and 400 individuals. In 2020, over 30 new organisations have joined MyData Global.
  • Thanks to the efforts of our members, the MyData Declaration is available now in 11 languages and translations of the original 2015 MyData white paper are now available in Japanese, Korean, Portugese
  • Our Slack has nearly 2500 experts, with nearly 400 people active weekly!


What do we plan for 2021?

Double the current annual membership income to create a self-sustaining core organisation and activities.

We build our finances towards the objective of being able to sustain the organisational core activities with the membership fees by the end of 2022. Once we meet that objective of self-sustainability, external funding (grants, projects, donations) will be sought and used only to scale our work on the four impact areas.

Impactful and engaging communications through inspiring new website, online resources and new communications mindset.

We should be able to reach a much larger audience with the great work we do. A new website, improved case library and more focus on external communications will be vital in this. Our website is THE most important channel for external communications – but we have not treated it that way. We have amazing content and a great story to tell – and need to be more clear in our communications.

Internal processes support the wellbeing and well-functioning of the people in the leadership teams for the association, hubs, and thematic groups.

It’s been before “the best team I ever worked in”, but has suffered during 2020.  We’re always busy and have too many goals – things fall apart. A key to success is doing OKR’s better – less is more, work on those with discipline. Strengthen team in terms of skills and diversity.

Model for MyData advocacy work defined and piloted with new upcoming EU Data Governance Act, Digital Services Act and Data Act.

We want to influence the Data Governance Act, Digital Services Act and Data Act and other relevant policies, together with friend organisations, to be more human-centric.
We will develop the friend organisation concept, first with Open and Agile Smart Cities, Data Sovereignty Now, International Data Spaces, Gaia-X and others whom we have engaged with. We must define process how we take formal positions, quickly.

Development of a sustainable business model for “MyData Events & Services” initiated through piloting 4 online MyData Academy training courses.

In 2021, we will set up a separate services company, MyData Events and Services, for events, academy and other services.
We will develop a “MyData 101” training curriculum and materials for training and pilot 4 smaller regional events with the MyData 101 online training.

Rules for a safe and productive space for ecosystem co-learning and collaboration created and piloted.

As the value of the work we jointly do increases, we need to make sure we have clear rules in place, for example for IPR and consortium building, so all kinds of people and organisations can safely and smoothly collaborate. We will submit a consortium proposal for #skillsdata European data space through facilitated process (ie. pilot “project facilitation office”).
We plan to increase number of MyData operator awards to at least double the current (to 60).

Become a member! 

MyData Global members work for the inevitable shift towards human-centricity and we accelerate it in practice, by facilitating collaboration between business, public sector, academia and civil society innovators.

By being a MyData Global member, you can show that you belong to the group of changemakers who are transforming data-driven business into one that is ethical and more balanced.




Teemu Ropponen
General Manager,
MyData Global