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How to use data in ways that actually work

At the recent Monash University Data Science for Good Governing Symposium, Senior Fellow at the University of Chicago Rayid Ghani (and Chief Data Scientist for President Obama’s 2012 campaign) outlined practical ways to put data to better use.

As The Mandarin reports, the key uses for an organisation’s data are:

  • Prevention and early warning. Data outside of an immediate operational area can be used to improve environmental awareness and prevent problems. For example:
    • environmental requirements to register lead paint usage can be used to inform public health programs aimed at preventing lead poisoning in children
    • hospital attendance records can be used to inform risk assessments of potential abuse of dependents by their carers
  • Effective resource allocation. Situational awareness and trends analysis allows resources to be predictively assigned in more effective ways. For example:
    • inspections can be prioritised for people and organisations where data indicates they are at higher risk of non-compliance, and
    • emergency response units can be mobilised and positioned at times and places where they are most likely to be needed
  • Fast, accurate information routing. Contextual analysis of content can allow automatic delivery of information to the right person, lowering costs and improving productivity.
  • Correlating interventions to impact. Using current and past data can shed insight on the impact of interventions. This can either be:
    • a prospective analysis, i.e. which policy levers are the most effective at producing systems change based on past outcomes
    • a retrospective analysis, i.e. did a particular intervention have the expect impact, and who did it impact
  • Analysis and synthesis for reuse by others. If many within an organisation need to analyse information in the same way, the act of data preparation and sharing can be productive in its own right.

Source: The Mandarin

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Stephen Bounds

Stephen Bounds is an Information and Knowledge Management Specialist with a wide range of experience across the government and private sectors. As founding editor of RealKM and Executive, Information Management at Cordelta, Stephen provides clear strategic thinking along with a hands-on approach to help organisations successfully develop and implement modern information systems.

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