Data Capacity Groups
The Urban Institute is just one of many national organizations that support building data capacity to enhance a community’s ability to achieve ambitious goals and advance equitable outcomes. Below are a list of organizations and networks that provide support to local stakeholders, each with its own focus audiences or areas of expertise.
Actionable Intelligence for Social Policy works with state and local governments to develop integrated data systems that link administrative data at the person-level across government agencies, with the end goal of developing a system for continuously testing and improving on the effectiveness of their policies. It convenes a nationwide network of agencies that operate integrated data systems, conducts multisite research projects using the systems, and provides guides and case studies on operating and using them.
All In is a learning network of more than 150 community collaborations that are testing ways to systematically improve community health outcomes through multisector data sharing to advance practice, identify gaps, highlight investment needs, and inform policy. Open to everyone, the network hosts an online discussion group and shares resources through its podcast, webinars, and publications.
The Community Indicators Consortium supports efforts to improve quality of life through tracking metrics on what the community cares about and using them to guide action and engage communities. The consortium offers individual and organizational memberships and provides resources to help practitioners advance the practice and effective use of community indicators.
Data and Society studies the social implications of data and automation, producing original research to ground informed, evidence-based public debate about emerging technology. The organization’s research reports—on topics such as health data, privacy, and algorithms—are available on its website. It also has a podcast and blog that feature guest authors and thought leaders.
The mission of Data for Black Lives is to promote the use of data science as a tool for empowering communities of color and to prevent uses that reinforce inequality and injustice. The organization is supporting the formation of several Data for Black Lives chapters in cities across the country. The website includes past conference programs, a blog, and a report that contains demands for how data related to COVID-19 are collected and shared.
DataKind brings together top data scientists and leading social change organizations to collaborate on cutting-edge analytics and advanced algorithms to maximize social impact. The assistance to nonprofit organizations ranges from weekend events to longer-term engagements, and DataKind has two US and three international volunteer chapters. The organization’s website has a blog and descriptions of past projects.
Housed at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard Kennedy School, Data-Smart City Solutions works to catalyze adoption of data projects on the local government level. Stories and case studies on the organization’s website highlight best practices, top innovators, and promising case studies. Topics range from open data and predictive analytics to civic engagement technology. Data-Smart City Solutions also coordinates the Civic Analytics Network, a group of city and county chief data officers from large cities.
The GovLab seeks to strengthen the ability of institutions and people to work openly and effectively to make better decisions and solve public problems. The GovLab develops and tests platforms for collaborative problem solving, assesses and disseminates information about governance innovations, trains people on tackling public interest challenges with data, and builds networks. Its projects are on topics such as advancing open data, sharing proprietary data across sectors, and promoting the use of data in government decisionmaking.
The MetroLab Network is a group of more than 25 city-university partnerships focused on bringing data, analytics, and innovation to city government. The network’s mission is to pair university researchers with city policymakers to undertake research, development, and deployment projects that improve infrastructure, public services, and environmental sustainability. The organization’s website includes descriptions of members’ projects, and MetroLab Network holds an annual summit open to everyone.
The National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership is a learning network, coordinated by the Urban Institute, that connects independent partner organizations in more than 30 cities. The partners work to ensure that all communities have access to data and the skills to use information to advance equity and well-being across neighborhoods. The network’s website contains examples of data use by partner organizations, publications, and a guide for starting a local data intermediary.
Launched in 2019, the State Chief Data Officers Network seeks to formalize the duties and responsibilities of the role, recruit more job candidates to states, inspire governors to create and elevate the role, and lift up successful state data innovations and document them in toolkits to spur replication.
The What Works Cities program is run in collaboration with five partner organizations and aims to help local governments use data and evidence to tackle pressing challenges and improve residents’ lives. The program provides training, technical assistance, tools, and peer networking and is open to any city with a population of 30,000 or more.
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