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The DSI Index


Through our past work, we have a relatively good understanding of how DSI initiatives are spread across Europe, and where activity is concentrated. But we know less about what conditions support the creation, growth and sustainability of DSI initiatives, how thriving ecosystems develop, and how well different cities within the European Union are supporting DSI.

To help us understand these questions better, we’re developing an experimental DSI Index which will help policymakers and other stakeholders understand how they can support DSI, tech for good and civic tech to grow and scale its impact.

Indexes are a well-established way of understanding how different cities, countries and regions perform in everything from open data provision to support for digital entrepreneurship. However, this will be the first index looking specifically at DSI.

The development of the Index is an iterative process formed of several different stages:

  1. First, the development of the theoretical framework to help us understand what experts consider to be important in supporting DSI. This framework is made up of a number of indicators grouped into different themes.
  2. Second, the selection of data sources for each of the indicators, followed by collecting, analysing, standardising and processing the data.
  3. Third, comparing data for different cities to rank which cities are leading the way in support for DSI.

Alongside the index, we are collating best practice examples of how governments, funders and other stakeholders are supporting DSI, tech for good and civic tech.


  • January - June 2018: Development of theoretical framework
  • July - December 2018: Data sourcing, collection and processing
  • Early 2019: Ranking of cities, analysis of Index and best practice and publication


The Index is experimental: DSI is a very broad and multi-faceted field, sitting at the intersection of many other fields (such as digital innovation, social innovation, grassroots activism, civil society, and social and environmental movements). Furthermore, as DSI is a relatively new field, and one which has received limited attention from researchers and policymakers, we expect good data to be harder to come by than it would be in other fields. The Index will therefore be shaped significantly by data quality and availability, and be an iterative process.

However, we hope that it will spark conversations, encourage better decision-making, boost the case for dedicated support for DSI, and be built upon in future. To this end, we are publishing all our work openly and blog regularly about our progress. If you would like to get involved or find out more about our index, feel free to drop us an email at [email protected].



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