Information, as they say, is power. I wrote about this in an earlier post http://bit.ly/GZKdUT
The UK government is helping consumers to access, control and use data held about them by businesses through a radical new programme of work called ‘mydata’. Around 50 leading businesses, covering financial services, retail, utilities, telecoms and online platforms, have agreed to work with government on ‘mydata.
I am really amazed to find this study from the UK goverment. I had written about this earlier at: http://bit.ly/GZMrDG
Apparently the UK Government has a Behavioural insights team. ( I can imagine such a team with Nandan Nilekani in India). This team was created in the early months of the Coalition Government to make a reality of its pledge to find ‘intelligent ways to encourage, support and enable people to make better choices for themselves’. Imagine the scale of the effort. Making this kind of effort in the corporate world sounds difficult & the government is doing this in the UK. In fact just visiting the Cabinet office website can give us in India a huge complex.
Here is what the UK government is setting out to do. You can read the entire report here: Better choices, better deals!
Here are some excerpts:
By making it easier and simpler for consumers to access data held about them, intermediaries will be able to combine (or ‘mash’) data from different sources to enhance consumers’ understanding of their purchasing choices. This will drive improvements in consumer value and choice by promoting competition, and reducing problems with information, searching, and switching costs. It will therefore act as an important stepping stone towards a world where consumers make decisions on the basis of accurate information of their past usage of a service and competitive offers made by sellers. We are calling this ambitious programme of work ‘mydata’
There are signiicant disparities between – and within – sectors in the amount of personal data stored, and whether it is routinely shared with consumers. For example, in the banking, telecoms and online retail sectors it is increasingly common for consumers to be able to see their transaction history. However, often this can only be viewed onscreen, and is not downloadable in a common format. If it were, it could be easily reused by intermediaries and third parties to provide consumers with, for example, clear information on their spending habits or the best tariff given their personal usage
Richard Thaylor, a professor of economics and behavioural science at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago has this very interesting proposition.
This is what Richard provocatively suggests:
“If a business collects data on consumers electronically, it should provide them with a version of that data that is easy to download and export to another Web site. Think of it this way: you have lent the company your data, and you’d like a copy for your own use”.
I think this is a powerful idea & can have a huge impact on consumers & also create a huge number of intermediary companies who help consumers make sense of their data. The idea of using analytics as “personal power” will definitely be resisted by organized companies & governments, but it has the power to allow the customer to control & manage her relationships with Telecom, Retail & a myriad other companies.