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Digital Public Goods Need Sustainable Funding for Success

By Wayan Vota on November 10, 2022

DPG need funding

Last year, the UN Global Pulse and the Digital Public Goods Alliance conducted qualitative research to understand the challenges with developing and deploying digital public goods – any open source software, open data, open AI model, open standard or open content that adheres to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, does no harm, and helps attain the Sustainable Development Goals.

DPG Owner Survey Results

About forty digital public good product owners participated in the research and reported a need for guidance from experts across a wide range of fields such as intellectual property, licensing, governance, sustainable financing and other expertise. The results of the survey helped capture the unique challenges faced by digital public good owners. Two key findings from the survey are:

1. Financing is the Greatest Challenge and Top Priority

Financing and sustainability were core challenges for digital public good product owners. Sustainability could be viewed from a range of perspectives, however, respondents mostly focused on the need to achieve a sustainable business model. A third core challenge that surfaced was also demand from implementers. While technical challenges included interoperability, licensing, and data security, these fell far below the nearly 65% of respondents that chose financing as their priority above all else.

2. Digital Public Good Teams Are Small

Digital public goods are built by small, agile teams. Respondents were mostly working alone, or within a small team, though often within a larger organization – 42% had more than 50 people. This underscores the need for long-term sustainability for small teams, an expert resource pool to augment those teams, or for accessible support to take advantage of opportunities to scale.

What Do You See?

The survey by UN Global Pulse and the Digital Public Goods Alliance revealed several insights about digital public good product ownership beyond what is shared above. Please review this slide deck to understand more about the findings and insights.

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Written by
Wayan Vota co-founded ICTworks. He also co-founded Technology Salon, MERL Tech, ICTforAg, ICT4Djobs, ICT4Drinks, JadedAid, Kurante, OLPC News and a few other things. Opinions expressed here are his own and do not reflect the position of his employer, any of its entities, or any ICTWorks sponsor.
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