What are Open Digital Ecosystems (ODEs)?

ODEs are “open and secure Digital Platforms that enable a Community of actors to unlock transformative solutions for society, based on a robust Governance framework."

Governance

Governance

Laws and rules that govern the ecosystem and accountable institutions (government and non-government) that uphold these rules.

Community

community

Collaborative community who transact via the digital platform, to create value for all.

Digital Platforms

Digital Platforms

Technology infrastructure that facilitates co-creation for the delivery of solutions to end-users.

    Governance

    Laws and rules that govern the ecosystem and accountable institutions that uphold these rules, related to:

  • Fair and equitable platform access and outcomes
  • Robust data privacy and security
  • Sustainable funding model
  • Digital-ready talent and expertise
  • Domain-specific policies and standards

    Community

    Collaborative community of actors who transact via the digital platform to create value for all.

  • Builders: Public or private enterprises, and developers, co-creating digital platforms and / or leveraging them to build new solutions.
  • End-users: Individuals and entities accessing services and enabling feedback loops.
  • Facilitators: Ecosystem participants (e.g. CSOs, academia, philanthropies) involved in the governance, financing, research, etc., of ODEs.

    Digital Platforms

    Technology infrastructure that facilitates co-creation for the delivery of services to end-users.

  • Technology infrastructure includes data exchanges and registries, ID, open stacks, etc.
  • End-user solutions may be public goods or proprietary services
  • Open APIs, standards, and protocols enable interoperability
Governance

Governance

Community

Community

Digital Platforms

Digital
Platforms

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Paradigm shift over time

We are witnessing three fundamental shifts in the use of technology for public service delivery.

  • digital infrastructure

    Creation of shared technology infrastructure that can be leveraged by both public and private sector entities to unlock a wide range of innovative services for individuals, businesses, and government bodies.

  • connecting

    Connecting disparate systems and datasets to enable interoperability, subject to the appropriate security and privacy safeguards.

  • connecting

    Strong emphasis on building in safeguards and incorporating ‘privacy-by-design’ principles within digital platforms to protect the rights of individuals and prevent misuse.

Automation

1.0 Automation

  • Automation of discrete processes (offline to online)
  • Digitization of public records
Building Systems

2.0 Building Systems

  • End-to-end digitization of processes, from raising service requests to delivery of services
  • Integration of discrete data and back-end services for delivery via a single online portal
 Enabling Ecosystems (ODEs)

3.0 Enabling
Ecosystems (ODEs)

Tech

  • Platformization: Open, modular and interoperable digital platforms, enabling seamless access to data and services

Non-tech

  • Holistic Ecosystem that includes
    • Community (e.g. start-ups, civil society organizations) to innovate and collaborate on top of the digital platform
    • Governance frameworks that set rules around platform usage, including data privacy and security

Transition to ODEs has begun in India

Several public and private institutions have started to build ODEs in various sectors such as health, urban governance, and agriculture. A few examples of digital platforms that exhibit a large number of ODE characteristics, and are gradually evolving into full-fledged ODEs, are provided here.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is leading the conversation on platformization and ODEs in India, naming these as National Open Digital Ecosystems (NODEs) for the Indian context. You can access the whitepaper here.

Impact potential of National ODEs for India

ODEs have the potential to unlock significant economic, societal and governance benefits across major spaces info

Economic Impact

USD 700+ billion (INR 50+ lakh Cr)

  • health
    Health
    info

    1-3+ years increase expected in life expectancy

  • Talent
    Talent
    info

    50-80M+ people expected to be matched into better-fit jobs

  • Urban Governance
    Urban Governance
    info

    100+ hours of time per person per year expected to be saved due to smart mobility solutions

  • Agriculture
    Agriculture
    info

    1.5X increase expected in farmers' incomes

  • Law & Justice
    Law & Justice
    info

    2-6M court cases that have been pending 3+ years to be resolved

  • Logistics
    Logistics
    info

    5-15% efficiency savings expected in national logistics expenditure

  • Education
    Education
    info

    15-25M+ student drop outs expected to stay in school

  • State Service Delivery
    State Service Delivery
    info

    20% more eligible citizens expected to be included in the social safety net

  • E-Land Records
    E-Land Records
    info

    1M people and 250,000 hectares of land expected to be impacted via resolved land conflicts

  • MSME
    MSME
    info

    10-20M+ MSMEs expected to be included in the formal financial system

Economic Impact

USD 700+ billion
(INR 50+ lakh Cr)

  • health
  • Talent
  • Urban Governance
  • Agriculture
  • Law & Justice
  • Logistics
  • Education
  • State Service Delivery
  • E-Land Records
  • MSME

Want to know more about ODEs? Get started with our principles and toolkit

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Risks associated with ODEs

The fundamental shifts of the ODE approach can give rise to a set of risks that need to be tackled proactively to minimize harms. We have categorized these risks under two heads - ODE-Specific and Other Digital Platform Risks.

ODE - specific risks

Data Centralization Risk

Data Centralization

Data Centralization Risk

Data Centralization risk arises due to aggregation of personal data from multiple sources into a single database, increasing the chance of its misuse or replicating errors due to its poor quality.

    Key drivers:

  • Creation of a single point of failure.
  • Reliance on poor quality data as a 'single source of truth'.
  • Inadequate privacy and security safeguards to protect access to sensitive personal data.

    Potential consequences:

  • Misuse of personal data by public and / or private sector actors potentially for unauthorised profiling, surveillance and behavioral manipulation, etc.
  • Increased cost of reliance on incomplete or incorrect (poor quality) data, leading to incorrect targeting of individuals or wrongful exclusion of beneficiaries.

Builder Adoption Risk

Builder Adoption Risk

Builder Adoption Risk

Builder adoption risk arises if the builder community is unable or unwilling to adequately leverage the technology infrastructure to build new and innovative solutions on top.

    Key drivers:

  • Lack of awareness of the availability, usage and impact potential of the digital platform.
  • Poor quality of the digital platform (including data).
  • Lack of incentives or funding to build new solutions on top of the digital platform.

    Potential consequences:

  • Curbing private sector innovation.
  • Limited economic, societal and governance impact potential of ODEs.

Other digital platform risks

Exclusion Risk

Exclusion

Exclusion Risk

Exclusion arises due to technological or socio-economic barriers, preventing certain segments of the population from accessing services.

    Key drivers:

  • Lack of access to technology infrastructure, i.e. internet connectivity, smartphones and/ or poor digital literacy.
  • Non-inclusion of the informal sector.
  • Disintermediation of the public sector by private players.

    Potential consequences:

  • Adverse impact on livelihoods and quality of living.
  • Reduced public trust in government.

Operational Management Risk

Operational Management

Operational Management Risk

Operational management risk, associated with government ICT builds, arises due to challenges with procurement and contracting, talent management, and funding.

    Key drivers:

  • Lack of expertise in procurement and contracting.
  • Lack of required talent for digital development and inadequate talent management.
  • Paucity of financing options for technology interventions.

    Potential consequences:

  • Lack of adoption of the ODE approach and improper implementation.
  • Failure to sustain the ODE approach in the longer-term .

To learn about mitigation of this risk, click here

Funding models for ODEs

ODEs should plan for a sustainable funding model that aligns with their public good nature. They should consider funding requirements across the entire lifecycle.

Initial financing

ODEs are 'digital commons', meant to be universally accessible. Given this, the initial financing for building ODEs should be through public sector or philanthropic capital.

Operational financing

The maintenance and scale-up of ODEs requires recurring operational investments for which cost-recovery models can be considered.

Other innovative means of funding

Public sector entities can explore new funding models that go beyond ICT budgets and grants-in-aid, to fulfil the initial and operational financing requirements of ODEs.

To know more about the different funding models, click here

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Call to Action

A robust national governance strategy is required for the successful implementation of ODEs at scale in India. We have outlined three recommendations.

Develop standards and frameworks

Develop common national standards and frameworks in a few critical areas like data governance, ethics, and risk management to bridge existing gaps. These can serve as a guide for ODEs to develop and implement their own associated policies.

Encourage participatory governance mechanisms

Develop participatory governance mechanisms to enable greater collective accountability and transparency, ensure inclusion and last-mile access, and bring to bear the right expertise.

Establish a high-powered National ODE (NODE) Council

Establish a national-level NODE Council to devise strategies for the adoption of the ODE approach, including developing common standards and frameworks, participatory governance mechanisms, and advising government bodies on their design and delivery.

To learn more about ODEs and how to engage with them, visit Principles, Resources and Toolkit