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Key insights from the Data Spaces Symposium

The recent Data Spaces Symposium held on March 12–14 in Darmstadt represented an essential gathering point for those immersed in the field of data spaces.

The three-day symposium was devoted to exploring the vibrant domain of data and its potential. It presented a valuable chance for attendees to delve into the current data space environment and to make connections with Europe’s experts in the field. 

See the Data Spaces Support Centre’s (DSSC) video from the event.

The event saw participation from over fifteen Finnish organisations and companies, including Sitra’s facilitation of deep-dive sessions for Finnish attendees. These sessions were designed to foster knowledge exchange about German initiatives, to share insights on best practices, and to encourage networking.  

During the sessions, the discussion centered on the value of data spaces. The consensus highlighted that the true value lies not in the data itself but in the applications, hence the value emerges from how the data is processed, analysed, and applied to create meaningful outcomes or solutions.  

Key takeaways from the session on value of data spaces 

  • Data spaces have a role in reinforcing data ownership. Data spaces are designed to ensure that data providers (individuals, companies, or institutions) maintain their authority over their data. 
  • Data spaces create trust, which is a critical prerequisite for companies to engage in data sharing. Data spaces are designed with security features, protocols, and governance models that establish a reliable and transparent environment. 
  • Data spaces offer interoperability. Data spaces are designed to make it easier for different data systems, applications, and organizations to work together seamlessly. 
  • Data spaces provide an environment for developing new kinds of business opportunities and for evolving existing business models in creative ways. This leads to the growth of innovative business models that are responsive to the rapidly changing digital economy. 

It’s not just about collecting data but using it in ways that make a real difference. The true value of data goes beyond single organisation and comes to life within cooperative ecosystems. The more data is shared, the more value it can create for those involved.  

For data providers it is crucial to be ensured that their data is handled responsibly and that they get a fair share of the value generated from it. On the flip side, data users need to trust that the data they use, and reuse is reliable and comes from credible sources. In order to create an environment where data can be shared, exchanged, and used in a mutually beneficial manner, the two-way trust is important, supporting the principle of fair data economy.  

A well-functioning data economy is built on clear rules and agreements that oversee the exchange of data. Such exchanges happen within data spaces, which make it easy to share data beyond borders and between different organizations.  

Joining a data space is more than just a technical aspect of integrating data systems or establishing data-sharing protocols. It’s also a cultural issue because it requires a change in mindset and behavior regarding how data is viewed, managed and shared.