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What is

Data Collaboration?

Data Collaboration is an approach to digital innovation that leverages "zero copy" IT ecosystems to enable all stakeholders (i.e. custodians, customers, partners, employees, and intelligent agents) to engage in data-centric problem-solving without giving up CONTROL of the information they contribute.

Note:  data contributed by software, including AI/ML tools, must always be under the control of a human owner.

Data Collaboration is a highly efficient way to develop new technology

Data Collaboration empowers multiple stakeholders to deliver a shared outcome with great efficiency while retaining autonomy

Collaboration everywhere!
But not on data?

Many folks will remember when collaborating on a doc required it to be emailed back and forth between co-authors. The versions very quickly got out of sync, and it was basically a nightmare for everyone involved.

Then came Google Docs, and we all quickly learned how powerful it is to collaborate in real-time with people and software (e.g. spell checkers) to craft amazing words. 

The funny thing is that collaboration is now happening everywhere except on the data used to power organizations, applications, and supply chains. 


So what's the deal?

Problem 1:
Apps create silos

You've probably heard the expression "There's an app for everything"? 


Here's the full version: 


"There's an app for everything, and a database silo for every app"


Even small businesses now use 100s of apps to run their business and enterprise and public sector organizations use thousands.

Even if we integrate data into bigger silos (Lakes, Warehouses) it does little to eliminate legacy silos or prevent new ones.

Data Collaboration Alliance data silos

Most Data Management technologies do not solve the database silos and copies that act as a barrier to Data Collaboration

Web 2.0 is like a global photocopier for sensitive data

Web 2.0 manages data by exchanging copies between 3rd party apps located all over the World

Problem 2:
Silos create copies

The routine exchange of data copies between apps is known as point-to-point Data Integration.

Copies are the enemy of data control, ownership, and collaboration.

When you think about it, the elimination of copies is already how we protect the value on things like currency, identity, and intellectual property.

Zero Copies

The good news is that many organizations are now adopting new frameworks and technologies that make it possible to stop generating new data silos and copies.

But how do we incentivize more innovators to join this movement?


It will be driven by the outcomes of increased IT capacity and simplified regulatory compliance.

It's time to describe the "Data Collaboration Flywheel"

Data Collaboration is powered by nodes, pods, and wallets.

Web 3.0 manages data as interconnected nodes (aka "pods" or "wallets") that replace silos and copies


Building new digital solutions with control kickstarts a cycle of compounding efficiency


Greater efficiency  stimulates demand for more projects to be powered by controlled data. 



Access accelerates delivery times and eliminates the overhead of database silos and copy-based integration.




Data Ownership

Data Portability

Data Deletion

Next-gen Governance

Federated Problem-Solving

Increased IT capacity

Precision Auditability 

The elimination of copies makes meaningful ownership possible via univeral access controls.





Ownership encourages data sharing via access grants that support collaboration between people and software.

Work in progress

While the potential for Data Collaboration is incredibly exciting, it would be a mistake to assume that the shift from data silos to controlled environments will happen overnight. 


Similarly, it would be naive to assume that the citizens, nonprofits, and businesses who contribute data to digital ecosystems have the time or inclination to manage access (hey there, Privacy Paradox).


Imagine if every app required end users to maintain a unique set of access controls - it wouldn't be long before we'd all be required to set hundreds or even thousands of controls, or to be more accurate, give up and not do any of this. 🤣


It's likely that we'll see the emergence of new professions (e.g. Data Access Consultants) that will help to fill the gap, or perhaps digital agents, powered by Machine Intelligence, will adopt the role of our "robotic custodian".   


But as the futurist William Gibson once observed; "The future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed." 

At the Data Collaboration Alliance, we see ourselves as an accelerator, except instead of companies, we're helping to scale-up the technologies, standards, protocols, and best-practices that will make Data Collaboration the new normal.


The Data Collaboration Alliance provides multiple ways for individuals and organizations to join the #AccessNotCopies movement to support meaningful Data Ownership and global Collaborative Intelligence

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