Why the development 'data revolution' is further along than you thought

Elizabeth Stuart, research fellow for the Overseas Development Institute, shares her thoughts on where the development community is in the data revolution, as well as what needs to happen next.

Big data analytics are already being used in developing countries in really interesting ways. Even more striking, according to Elizabeth Stuart, research fellow for the Overseas Development Institute, is that some national statistical offices — often underinvested in and lacking political independence — are also already using satellite data, such as light emissions as a proxy indicator for poverty.

So, “it’s already happening,” she said of development being “ready” for the data revolution — although the development community can be making much better use of the data already being collected, Stuart added.

Watch the video to find out how much Stuart says it’s going to cost for all countries to conduct better household surveys.

With potential to change the trajectory of crises, such as famines or the spread of diseases, the innovative use of data will drive a new era for global development. Throughout this monthlong Data Driven discussion, Devex and partners will explore how the data revolution is changing our approach to achieving development outcomes and reshaping the future of our industry. Help us drive the conversation forward by tagging #DataDriven and @devex.

About the author

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    Kelli Rogers

    Kelli Rogers is a global development reporter for Devex. Based in Bangkok, she covers disaster and crisis response, innovation, women’s rights, and development trends throughout Asia. Prior to her current post, she covered leadership, careers, and the USAID implementer community from Washington, D.C. Previously, she reported on social and environmental issues from Nairobi, Kenya. Kelli holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, and has since reported from more than 20 countries.