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Power to the Public: Why data is only as good as the people who are working with it
Hana Schank and Tara McGuinness spent a year researching and writing a book about using data and technology to solve the hardest public problems. It's filled with examples of real change that's been brought about using data. For instance, one story centers on Amen Ra Mashariki, who is currently the Global Director of the Data Lab at World Resources Institute. At the time, he was Chief Analytics Officer for the City of New York Director of the Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics at the City of New York. When he first started working there he decided to look at the city's 311 data. He was especially interested in seeing what was going on in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. He was shocked when the data showed that there was no rat problem. When he grew up, there were a lot of rats. In fact, Mashariki knew from personal experience that it was rat infested. Mashariki called a friend who still lived in the projects and asked what had happened to all of the rats. According to the city’s data, he explained, there were no more rats there. His friend laughed. There were plenty of rats, he assured Mashariki. “Then why doesn’t anyone call 311 to complain?” asked Mashariki. “What’s 311?” his friend replied.

This shows how important it is to have people who have a vested interest in data involved in the data creation, collection, and analysis -- and that it’s simply not happening as often as it should.
During this event our speakers will discuss:
- What it is about data analytics that makes it especially important to bring diverse experiences to the table
- What data team diversity looks like and how to ensure it’s happening
- What the risks are for data teams that do not incorporate community voices?
- Data is only one of the tools available to modern problem solvers. How it can be used in conjunction with other tools like user interviews, usability research or piloting to ensure policies and practice are diverse.

Mar 11, 2021 02:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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