Trading data among multiple organizations can make data more useful and information more insightful. As a discipline, this practice requires the ability to predict potential effects when data is combined or used in new ways or new combinations, and is best aided when data’s movement can be recorded in a way that makes tracking provenance possible when failures occur. But just as diplomats must consider many complex and sometimes unpredictable risks and opportunities when engaging across borders, so too must leaders and developers.

Organizations must be willing to devote at least as much time to considering the effects of this data-sharing as they are willing to look at its monetization options. They must also find a common language with other organizations—and end-users— to determine what is an effective and acceptable use of data. Informed consent requires that data diplomats—be they business executives, application developers, or marketing teams, among many others—communicate proactively about the potential pitfalls of data exposure.²

Organizations which are effective at communicating their datasharing efforts stand to win the trust of users. These users will be willing to take a (measured) risk in sharing their data with the promise of a return of more useful data and information, less expensive services, or other benefits.