I’ve written extensively before about the increasingly recombinative nature of research and innovation, whereby breakthroughs typically involve taking ideas from one field and applying them in fresh ways.
For this approach to thrive, there needs to be no barriers to the identification of interesting research and the opportunity for collaboration between researchers. A Finnish team have developed a new digital platform to do just this.
Greasing the Wheels
The platform, which was documented in a recent paper, aims to provide an open virtual work and modeling platform that supports clear, evidence-based decision making.
“There must be practices for mutual communication: experts must answer policy questions in a defendable and useful way; decision makers must more clearly explain their views using evidence; and there must be ICT tools to support this exchange,” the team says. “The focus is on end-users.”
The platform, which is known as Unicorn, aims to share a mixture of data, tools and best practice to bring together data from a number of databases and therefore aid the creation of the kind of tools that support policy making.
The platform has already been tested in prototype form and the team are now ready to scale Unicorn up.
“Unicorn directs this trend to paths that are the most beneficial for societal decision making by providing quick, reliable and efficient decision support,” the team say.
They hope that by optimizing the collection, modeling and analysis of data that significant savings will be made to support the work of government.
“The major challenges related to evidence-based decision making actually are about changing the practices of researchers and decision makers,” the team claim. Therefore, they see their project as a demonstration of the needed shifts.
The platform still has much to do to convince however, and funding is required to develop it further. Time will tell how effective they are in proving their worth.