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 […]

Curriculum Development Using Design Thinking

I was recently given the opportunity to develop a series of geospatial information system (GIS) classes for the New York City Department of Transportation. These classes build on the successful series of data analytics classes I’ve been teaching for NYC employees and are intended to help develop the ability of NYCDOT employees to better leverage open […]

Teaching Analytics to NYC Employees: Excel as a Tool for Summarizing Data

This blog post is part of a series of posts I’m doing outlining the experiences I’ve had in a year of teaching analytics classes to NYC employees. For more information on the courses I teach, see the Github repository of course outlines and other important information as well as the other posts in this series. I […]

Teaching with Intention

As a life-long student, I’ve been in many classes where the instructor approached a lecture like a monologue scripted beforehand and (attempted to be) delivered flawlessly. The experience was stale and uninteresting. Despite the best efforts of the instructor, I’m sure I retained little if any of the information he or she presented mostly because […]