• Published Date: 18/09/2019
  • by: UNDP

Data Innovation for Policy Development – Case Study


Nesta, a British innovation foundation, used data innovation to analyze the demand for labor in the UK in 41 million job advertisements. It predicted that data engineering is a skill most likely to be the best paying one around.

How could data innovation could help the Brexit crisis?

Let’s start with some background on Brexit – Britain and the EU’s chronic conundrum of four years. In the most recent turn of events, the British MPs have voted in favor of the bill introduced by the Labour Party that would extend the Brexit deadline to January 20, 2020 from the original date on October 19, 2019. The bill is meant to prevent a “no-deal Brexit” pursued by Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The subject of the UK’s no-deal departure has caused turmoil in the House of Commons and, if realized, would greatly impact people’s lives in many ways, including the workforce. One of the defining arguments behind Brexit was immigration – EU Leavers were concerned about the increasing number of immigrants who might take a fraction of British jobs.

If we look closely at the data on the UK’s workforce, there are other sets of data related to it. Advancement in innovation would be most beneficial for managing and analyzing these big chunks of data. We’re talking, more specifically, about data innovation, which plays an important role in generating, analyzing and classifying data.

What is data innovation?

Data innovation is the gathering and use of new or non-traditional data, such as data from social media, digital content and more, to help us analyze, classify and “granulate” data efficiently. It provides insights into a particular issue as well as opportunities for development. Policy-makers can apply data innovation to drive their cities towards sustainability, because when they are able to granulate essential data, they can see what is overlooked or lacking and how they can solve the problems.

The National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts, or Nesta, a British innovation organization uses data innovation to project and analyze the post-Brexit future of the UK’s workforce. It found that there would be a shortage of certain skills and in the long run more human jobs would be done by artificial intelligence (AI). Together with policy-makers, educationists, business people, blue-collar workers and students, between 2012-2017 Nesta analyzed 41 million job advertisements in the UK and classified important skills for workers. This information will allow for better planning of recruitment, training and education, which are vital to driving the economy, as well as helping workers and students make more informed career decisions.

In Nesta’s analysis, skills are fundamental for a wide variety of jobs and they can change according to time and their market value assessment estimates. The following is the made-public classification of five skill groups with relatively high salaries and other five with relatively lower salaries.


Skill groups with relatively high salaries and rapid growth

1. Data engineering

2. IT security operations

3. Marketing research

4. Application development

5. Website development


Skill groups with relatively low salaries and low growth:

1. Shipping and warehouse operations

2. Medical administration and coding

3. General sales

4. Archiving and libraries

5. Journalism and writing


Nevertheless, these data sets are not definite. As previously mentioned, they can change over time and according to the market value assessment. Perhaps Nesta would have to present their analysis again before long. After Brexit and all the changes it entails, data innovation would remain a critical tool that helps us think, analyze and classify new sets of data, and help leaders and policy-makers achieve goals and run the country efficiently again.

Using data innovation to analyze the demand of the UK’s labour market following the Brexit crisis is only one example. There are more success cases from others that have adopted this method successfully and played an important part in the sustainable social and economic development of their countries.







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Read more

  • What are The Sustainable Development Goals?
  • UNDP and TSIP’s Principles Of Innovation
  • What are The Sustainable Development Goals?


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