Public servants have started to learn how to leverage data in their daily work, but how can their progress be accelerated?

(Sam DeJohn) #1

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?

(Ryan Wold) #2

Most efficient… is an interesting question.

At least 2 ideas come to mind.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

(Justin Longo) #3

The GovLab Academy has offered a number of really good courses and workshops (see

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on a trial basis in fall 2017 in the graduate program in public administration I teach in; see It is already a bit out of date less than one year later - but it is open access, self-paced, and should give learners a sense of whether they want to invest more time and effort in learning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.

(Jonathan Brown) #4

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.