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INDIGO

Better data for better social outcomes

We are the International Network for Data on Impact and Government Outcomes (INDIGO). Here you can explore our datasets, read our latest news, join our events and find out more about data sharing in the field of social outcomes.

About INDIGO

Latest INDIGO news & events

What is INDIGO?

INDIGO is a community of peers from different countries, sectors and policy domains with an interest in sharing data about projects that seek to address complex social problems.

The INDIGO initiative includes community activities, a system for sharing data, and various datasets available as open data on the GO Lab website. As an emerging data collaborative, we believe that helping more people share and use quality data will improve both the efficiency and effectiveness of these projects.

Are you delivering an impact bond right now?

Please tell us about your project and your organisation

Share data with INDIGO

Impact Bond Network Evolution

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How INDIGO helps...

As a researcher or programme evaluator, you can use INDIGO to see how different projects are designed and their main policy areas and networks around the world with our impact bond dataset. This could help you make better use of the data, design further research, and explore solutions in your research paper.

As a policymaker or policy influencer, you can use INDIGO to see outcomes for causes, such as homelessness, using our impact bond dataset. You can also use our impact bond lifecycle to understand the stages of developing an impact bond. This could help you make an informed decision as to whether to use the instrument or not, make better decisions for resource allocation, and help you design contracts for your local community.  If you’re interested in data in the field of social outcomes and collaborating with others, join our Hack-and-Learn sessions.

As an outcome payer, you can use INDIGO to see the impact bond process using our impact bond lifecycle and understand how procurement and contracts have been set up using our impact bond dataset. This could help you implement a similar or different programme for funding issues with your mission.  

As a social investor or entrepreneur, you can use INDIGO to understand different ways of describing the role of social investors, including provision of non-financial technical assistance, using our Social investment/Fund manager Extension Prototypes. This could help you make a more informed decision on whether or not to invest capital and participate in design and implementation. It could also help you more efficiently explain your role to commissioners and small social enterprises. 

As a service provider, you can use INDIGO to see what funders are around, what they offer, and what a good deal looks like, with our Social investment/Fund manager Extension Prototypes and our data directory. This could help you see what other service providers are doing, how organisations are presented, and which projects they are participating in.  

As a civil society organisation, you can use INDIGO to understand whether projects are effectively fighting inequality, injustice, climate change and/or tackling any of the Sustainable Development Goals using our impact bond dataset, our Social outcomes and SDGs prototype and our organisation directory. This could help you know what initiatives to promote or support and what initiatives are harmful. 

As a data analyst or coder, you can use INDIGO to understand system processes and interact with our datasets, such as our impact bond dataset. This could help you to ensure your organisation and its role in the project(s) are well-represented and that your organisation is recognised by a wider audience for its role and commitment. With your help, we can also improve our open-source code on GitHub and our data definitions using our INDIGO Data Definition Improvement Tool. If you’re interested in collaborating with policymakers and other peers in the field of social outcomes, join our Hack and Learn sessions.

How you can contribute

Community

INDIGO is a community of peers and an emerging data collaborative, we invite you to join us.

Collaborate and grow our community

System

INDIGO offers a collaborative open process for sharing information about outcomes projects, including data definitions and open source code for our database and data visualisations. We support a quarterly collaborative cycle (illustrated below). The system and cycle include Lab staff who process data, the INDIGO data dictionary and the INDIGO Data Template Spreadsheet. We are grateful to the Brookings Institution for collaborating on many of the data definitions in late 2019.

Collaborate and grow our system

Our Quarterly Collaborative Cycle

Here’s our Quarterly Collaborative Cycle, which is ambitious and highly dependent upon collaboration from individuals and organisations around the world. 

INDIGO quarterly collaborative cycle
INDIGO quarterly collaborative cycle

Data

An outcomes-based approach fundamentally involves data on outcomes. Data may be used within an organisation, among a group of organisations, and with external parties including the public. We know that not all data are shared with everyone in the same way. However, INDIGO partners should start with the default position that their data should be shared openly with the public unless there is a good reason not to do so. The public is likely to be another funder, investor, or provider trying to solve a complex social problem so this data will be hugely useful to them. 

To date our focus has been on impact bonds. Our intention is to widen this focus to include other types of collaborations around social outcomes. 

Collaborate and improve our data

Frequently asked questions

Imagine you work in local government and want to improve the lives of homeless people in your area. You might be able to find a few case studies of projects that address homelessness, but do you know how other local governments have defined goals for programmes to tackle this problem? Can you find examples of projects that seek to address similar issues? In a similar context?   

Across the world, people are working to solve a wide range of complex problems such as homelessness, long term unemployment or reducing crime rates through projects that use cross sector collaboration. Addressing these challenges often involves the joint work of governments, private sector, and third sector organisations. Even though these collaborations share similar rhetoric and promise, it is often too difficult and expensive to access information about other projects.  

This is why we started the INDIGO initiative.  With the support of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), we've been able to help more people share and use quality data. Our INDIGO Peer Learning Group quarterly sessions and Hack and Learn events have also allowed us to build a strong community and space for learning and exchange in the field. 

Its main objective is to support the use of quality data by policymakers who are addressing complex social and environmental problems. Data standards initiatives already exist in particular sectors, but INDIGO’s key contribution is to harmonise those standards – and culture – across sectors involved in impact bonds and other outcome-based projects. We are collaborating with existing standards. We are borrowing wheels, not reinventing them.   

Crucially, data are shared by and for the INDIGO community. Data quality (i.e. accuracy, completeness, consistency, credibility, and currentness) is only as good as the data shared.

Data may be inaccurate, incomplete, inconsistent, and/or not current for various reasons: INDIGO is a collaborative and interactive initiative that mostly relies on projects all over the world volunteering to share their data. We have a system for processing information and try to attribute data to named sources, but we do not audit, cross-check, or verify all information provided to us. Not everyone agrees that all these data should be public and those that do agree are very busy. It takes time and resources to share data, which may not have been included in a project’s budget. Many of the projects are ongoing and timely updates may not be available. Different people may have different interpretations of data items and definitions. Even when data are high quality, interpretation or generalisation to different contexts may not be possible and/or requires additional information and/or expertise. 

Nonetheless, INDIGO offers the world’s most complete open dataset on impact bonds and we are collaboratively working towards higher quality data together. Want to help us improve our data? Get in touch and share your data.

There are many ways to download our data. Check out this page for more details on how to download CSVs of project listings and organisation listings. You can also find out how to download by data type, as individual Excel files and as JSON from the API. 

If you would like to send us an update, or add any missing projects, organisations or other data to our databases, please get in touch with us at indigo@bsg.ox.ac.uk. We will get back at you as soon as possible.

For more information on sharing data with INDIGO, click here.

Get in touch! Email us at indigo@bsg.ac.ox.uk to talk about sharing data on new projects, changes or performance updates on current projects, clarifications or corrections on our data, and/or confidentiality or sensitivity notices. 

For more information on sharing data with INDIGO, click here.

Not in most cases. For most projects, we have collected data and we are asking you to update the sheet. 

Additionally, we have identified three levels of priority for each tab in the spreadsheet. 

  • Level 1 Priority Tab. Most of the data requested here are the most important and basic. Included here are variables tied to summary statistics and our most common queries across all projects. 
  • Level 2 Priority Tab. Most of the data requested here are of medium importance, advanced, and very helpful – especially when updated regularly. 
  • Level 3 Priority Tab, Most of the data requested here are not deemed urgent as they are unlikely to be available for all projects in the near term. These data are more detailed and are perhaps the most helpful, especially if users can give us feedback on how to improve definitions.

The levels are noted in the INDIGO Data Dictionary and at the top of each tab in the INDIGO Data Template Spreadsheet.

Contact us

Email: Interested in sharing your data or participating in any INDIGO events? Please get in touch at indigo@bsg.ox.ac.uk.

Peer learning: Join our INDIGO Peer Leaning Group! We hold quarterly forum for civic tech enthusiasts, policy-makers and other actors in cross-sector partnerships for social outcomes to work together towards better data for better social outcomes. Find out more here.

Slack: Find us on Slack as 'GO Lab, University of Oxford'.

Open Source Code: The open-source code for the INDIGO database and visualisations is free and available for use and reuse on GitHub.

We hope that the spirit of innovation and collaboration, so integral to the success of outcomes-based projects themselves, will also carry this initiative forward. Let’s work through these issues together. 

Help make INDIGO better

We warmly invite your feedback through the INDIGO Feedback Questionnaire.

INDIGO Feedback Questionnaire