Putting a Data Leader in their Place

I’ve been interested a lot recently in what it means to be a data leader. I had the opportunity this week to have a wonderful class with the participants in the recent cohort of the Leadership Institute, sponsored by the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. Called Leveraging Analytics, we were intentionally provocative in asking […]

Data Driven Government Mini-Lesson

I get asked a lot in my classes what it means to be data driven. And while there are plenty of examples, here’s a little mini-example I hope will demonstrate something of what it means to be data-driven in government. The Guardian recently had an interesting feature piece on the issue of walkability. A key […]

Building Empathy with Data

I recently taught several classes with managers from the NYC Administration for Children’s Services. These folks are near and dear to my heart. Coming from a social sciences background and having experience as a social worker, I have sympathy for their hard and often thankless work. I also appreciate the unique perspective those in the […]

In Praise of Documentation

Too often we do great analysis but it’s a flash in the pan, a snowflake of inspiration that is almost impossible to recapture. That’s why I’d like to offer a few basic thoughts on documenting analytical work, particularly if you’re using a tool like Microsoft Excel: Save a clean copy of the data. Note the source […]

Brainstorming: In Defense of Broad Participation

For almost 3 years now, I’ve been developing and facilitating brainstorming sessions for public sector clients to understand data-related problems. In that time, I’ve never seen a person who shouldn’t have been in the room or didn’t have something to contribute, but I’ve always had someone say “We should ask {insert team} about that” or […]

Chief Data Officer – Getting Started

I’ve been thinking recently about the job of a Chief Data Officer and what it would mean to come into an organization to perform this role. Whether there has been a previous CDO or not, in my experience helping government agencies get a handle on the data they collect and use, the key first task is […]