But how can we connect and use this data to plan for the kind of Industry we need to be in the future?

CSIA is looking to find a way and has launched the Community Services Data Alliance (CSDA). We are working in partnership with the Griffith University’s Regional Innovation Data Lab (RIDL) and in collaboration with Industry to shape the CSDA.

“Data holds the promise to unlock insights that can break the chain of disadvantage. The Community Services Data Alliance provides a perfect vehicle for us to work together to realise this aspiration,” explains Griffith University Pro Vice Chancellor and Head of Logan campus Linda O’Brien.

In this blog Linda talks about the Regional Innovation Data Lab and what you need to know about unlocking our data.

What is the Regional Innovation Data Lab (RIDL)?

“The World Economic Forum recently released an Insight Report on Data Collaboration for the Common Good1.  They see emergent digital technologies providing a unique opportunity from which to create a more inclusive, innovative and resilient society,” Linda tells us.

“RIDL has been established explicitly to realise this opportunity.

“By working through partnerships with government, industry, research agencies and community organisations RIDL aggregates, links and visualises data to deliver insights which can underpin complex research, service innovation, policy development and community action.

“RIDL is what is known as a data collaborative,” explains Linda.

“Data collaboratives, through the adoption of sound and ethical data practises, enable all actors: governments, the corporate sector, university researchers and non-government organisations (NGOs), to voluntarily work together to exchange data to create public value and solve societal problems.

“Critical to our success as a data collaborative is addressing the current trust deficit. As the Insight Report notes: ‘While growing evidence shows the value of public-private data collaboration, the challenges and risks remain daunting…Addressing the trust deficit has become a top priority….Despite the challenges ahead, the cost of inaction is unacceptable….We are paying a daily – and largely invisible – opportunity-cost in the “missed use” of data for public good.’ (pp.10-11).

“Building upon the strong university foundations of research and data ethics RIDL is well-positioned to act as a collaborative,” explains Linda.

The value of working collaboratively

Linda continues: “RIDL’s projects to date have involved the development of holistic data sets which bridge data silos, through working collaboratively to fill the data and evidence gap required to solve complex social problems.

“Access to open and sensitive data enables a deeper understanding of community in the context of place, its history, strengths and challenges in relation to the access and availability of universal and social services and supports.

“Gaps in universal and social provisioning are identified across the life course and continuum of support (early intervention through to tertiary) providing a strong foundation for discussion, informed decision making, monitoring, research and shared learning,” explains Linda.

The way forward

“The recently released CEDA Report1 on Disrupting Disadvantage – setting the scene outlines the problems associated with the current approaches to tackling entrenched disadvantage and suggests four ways forward:

1. Mobilise data to help those at risk

“A key priority is to encourage governments and other providers to seize the opportunities now available through connecting and using data, and to work together in a concerted effort to use integrated data to better enable prevention and early intervention.” (p.12)

2. Improve navigation of services

“An alternative is to try investing additional resources to help participants navigate the existing system of supports and programs, increasing the likelihood that all available support is utilised and the right assistance provided in a timely way.” (p.20)

3. Invest in a stronger safety net

4. Get serious about evidence and implementation

“A failure of serious and consistent program evaluation and improvement based on data, evidence and analysis means that poorly designed and implemented programs persist.” (p.15)

“Three of these critically rely upon better linking, sharing and use of data by community members, community organisations and government agencies,” explains Linda.

“The legislative foundations are being put in place to realise these aspirations.

“A Federal Data Sharing and Release act is being put in place in 2020 that will allow access to sensitive government data which can be shared through accredited organisations as appointed by the National Data Commissioner. (https://www.pmc.gov.au/public-data/data-sharing-and-release-reforms).

“RIDL is well positioned to be such an accredited organisation.

“Griffith University, through our Regional Innovation Data Lab, is proud and excited to be forming this significant partnership with the Community Services Industry Alliance. 

“We see amazing opportunities to work collaboratively for mutual and societal benefit,” says Linda.

Be part of shaping the Community Services Data Alliance. Email your interest to [email protected] or head over to www.csialtd.com.au/data where you can find out more information and submit an EOI form.

The Community Services Data Alliance is another CSIA collaboration to advance Industry by doing business better.


1. http://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Data_Collaboration_for_the_Common_Good.pdf

2. https://www.ceda.com.au/Research-and-policy/All-CEDA-research/Research-catalogue/Disrupting-disadvantage-setting-the-scene