All Things Data – December 2012

Jim Lynch's picture

In my I mentioned that Lucy Bernholz' top buzz word of 2012 was "data." She maintains that we are only at the beginning of learning how to use data well for social purposes and philanthropy. Find below some highlights of the social good data world from Guidestar International's ace researcher, Keisha Taylor.

NGO Data:

Most recently Beth Kanter’s posts have been focused on how nonprofits can maximise collection and use of data in the course of their work. 3 posts include:

Big Data 
 - This cluster book, published in partnership with the EU examines how multiple stakeholders are developing knowledge on the Internet of Things. Internationally renowned experts discuss achievements in the field and call industry, academia, government, and civil society to action as the Internet of Things develops. The book analyses the interrelationship between objects and networks, how we interact with objects, how the Internet influences the way we see reality, and how technology both helps and prevents us from knowing ourselves.

: In this post Brian Solis zeros in on the importance of human insight (the human algorithm) in gaining value from big data. This is important for reaping a return on investment in big data technology and resources. He says we must humanize technology and data by storytelling. He also says that data should be shared within organisations as a department may undervalue the data they have while another department may be able to benefit from it.

Open Data: 
The Open Data Institute launched in London recently with £2 million in funding for 5 years from the UK government and US$ 750,000 in private investment for two years from the Omidyar Network. Four startups have also moved into its headquarters. These include which is working with Open Healthcare UK to improve health services and maximise NHS spending. Placr which provides public transit options, Locatable that helps home buyers by providing data on house locations and OpenCorporates a single source of data on corporations are also working with the ODI.

Data for Development: 
 - In this post Peter Speyer gives some key takeaways from the recent Global Development Data Jam at the White House. These include the importance of making data broadly available to quicken evidence-based planning. The cleaning and digitizing of datasets along with other data tasks should also be crowdsourced. Mobile phone data is important for real-time development efforts and data collection while data scientists are important in helping to gain insight.  Also discussed was need for better coordination of development funding.