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The Nesta-funded Counting What Counts Report, authored by Professors Anthony Lilley and Paul Moore, argues for senior cultural decision-makers to grasp the potential of big data.

Key findings

  • The current approach to the use of data in the cultural sector is out-of-date and inadequate.
  • A way of harnessing 'big data' is needed to help cultural organisations benefit from its innovation potential

The sector as a whole, and the policy and regulatory bodies which oversee it, are already failing to make the most of the considerable financial and operational benefits which could arise from better use of data.

In addition, a significant opportunity to better understand and possibly increase the cultural and social impact of public expenditure is being missed.

It is time for a step-change in the approach of arts and cultural bodies to data and for them to take up and build on the management of so-called "big data" in other sectors. 

This report aims to set the issues in a wide strategic context.

The overall objective is to help senior cultural decision-makers to understand the importance and urgency of the need to think differently about the potential of big data.vIt aims to encourage them to set in train changes to the environment, the metrics and the skills to make the most of big data which are needed to harness its potential.