Today we have an exponentially growing repository of data from countless sources, and many individuals and groups, including those in the public sector, have started learning to use data as a tool in their respective fields of work. Still, many public entrepreneurs are looking to develop expertise in data science and data analytics. A command of this skillset would also benefit the institutions they work for given the dearth of data scientists that work in the public sector. To that end: What’s the most efficient way to help motivated and dedicated public officials master these skills?
Public servants have started to learn how to leverage data in their daily work, but how can their progress be accelerated?
efficient… is an interesting question.
At least 2 ideas come to mind.
- Develop a curriculum, training course for staff and management - conveying what is possible and why data matters and a few use cases about where it fits in existing operations.
- Tutor individuals and small-teams who express high-interest, or opt-in to help for an applied problem.
Integrating data meaningfully into operations is a multi-faceted, open-ended endeavor. I’ve found helping public leaders understand what is possible is valuable - things as basic as data that goes into a system _should be able to be` reported on.
Then, helping do-ers accomplish their specific objectives through hands-on assistance is helpful at a different level.
Public agencies don’t often have mature data-science capabilities and correspondingly may not have well-articulated data science needs. Helping to prompt good questions and framing problems in a better way (eg; user-centered designed, continuous feedback loops) is high-leverage, in terms of encouraging public servants to think in systems, with data.
The GovLab Academy has offered a number of really good courses and workshops (see http://govlabacademy.org/programs.html).
Also, I offered this “introduction to policy analytics” course on a trial basis in fall 2017 in the graduate program in public administration I teach in; see http://bit.ly/jsgs867. It is already a bit out of date less than one year later - but it is open access, self-paced, and should give learners a sense of whether they want to invest more time and effort in learning data analytics for public sector analysis and management.
Is the coaching program open to municipal governments working with teachers and their students? I would like to chat with you about these opportunities at the conference. Thanks for sharing, Justin.