Research and Values

A couple of weeks ago we ran a workshop organized by Iban Benzal. It was great in many aspects.

First of all, for the attitude and knowledge of the participants, many of them service designers or marketeers. Secondly, for the way that workshop was carefully set-up, with different exercises aimed to get the most insights and ideas about personal data and how to build a service around it. Finally, the venue was fantastic. Having a warm and inspiring atmosphere like the one at Islington Hub helps with these events!

The workshop was divided into 4 different exercises (if you want to get into the details, you can read this Evernote).

Exercise #1 was particularly interesting for us. It was about associating pictures to concepts. The 3 concepts were personal data, online data, and companies that use our online data.


One of the most valuable insights we got was the difference people made to personal data vs online data. The vast majority of the people in the workshop knew and accepted that companies were using their online data, so in exchange they could receive free services. On the other side, people perceived personal data as something much more intimate: pictures, letters, thoughts, etc. They were all much more concerned and secretive with that data. It is therefore important that we make clear that what we want to secure, process and trade is the online browsing data that people know is already being sold.

A similar finding was raised in the second exercise where people discussed how much of their online data they felt they owned. Again, people recognised that they aren’t behaving as proper owners since they are all using services without reading their T&Cs, but being somewhat conscious that they are giving away that data by accepting them.

A different response was given when we asked if this was fair, if this is the way it should be. Some people showed their strong feelings that things should work in a different way, and that we should have someone or some entity that helps us understand what we are accepting and defending our interests when terms are not fair.


It was also interesting to receive feedback to some specific features we have in our development pipeline. Most of the people preferred those that provide more visibility about the type of data being collected and about how advertisers think TheGoodData looks like. We are thus working on launching some basic functionalities around those needs.


Finally we ran a co-creation exercise where attendants — divided into two groups — had to build a new homepage. Both groups ended up with a proposal that positioned TheGoodData as a pure privacy tool, as an anti-databreach or as a data lawyer.

workshop exercise 4-5

Playing this safeguard role is part of TheGoodData mission, although it will not be how we ultimately position ourselves. It is not that we are not that, but we are more than that. And here is where our vision and principles come into play.

We have a vision were people enjoy ownership of their data. That means that people can keep it safe if they want to, but mostly that they can master it and decide whether to share it or not, and get the best terms if they go for the first.

That vision derives into seven principles that we want to transmit. Principles of positiveness and of social good. We are strong believers that we can do great things with our data provided that we master it. That is what we want to communicate as a company, and that is what we are refining through surveys and workshops, while keeping our vision and principles at the top.


Again, special thanks to Iban, workshop participants, and Marc Pascual for the great pictures.