Our Data for Social Good effort, in partnership with Georgetown’s Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation, aims to better understand the impact of data on social and public outcomes. In a series of curated workshops, events, and reports, the MDI and the Beeck Center will engage a network of cross-sector experts to discuss how big data could play a major role in ameliorating difficult problems like discrimination, poverty, and crime, and how big data could help governments and public service organizations better utilize their resources to tackle these challenges.

Accelerating the Sharing of Data Across Sectors to Advance the Common Good

Many companies and governments are interested in sharing more of their data with each other; however, right now the process of sharing is very time consuming and can pose great risks since it often involves sharing full data sets with another entity. We need intermediaries to design safe environments to facilitate data sharing in the low-trust and politically sensitive context of companies and governments. These safe environments would exist outside the government, be transparent to the public, and use modern technologies and techniques to allow only statistical uses of data through temporary linkages in order to minimize the risk to individuals’ privacy.

By decreasing the cost and risks of sharing data, more data will be freed from their silos, and we will move closer to what we deserve—that our data are used for the greatest societal benefit.

Accelerating the Sharing of Data Across Sectors to Advance the Common Good

Data for Social Good: 100 Days for Innovative Solutions

The first 100 and 200 days of a new administration can set the tone for the entire presidency. Today, thanks in large part to new technology, there is a real opportunity to make a government that works for the American people. The McCourt School and the Beeck Center at Georgetown have created a checklist for the Trump administration to help set the agenda for technology and innovation. These recommendations offer possible ways to enable strategies to better use data, technology, and new partnership models to build a culture of innovation. This checklist is organized around three categories: (1) the structure of the White House; (2) policy strategies; and (3) people, e.g., hiring, recruitment, and training practices. We believe that integrating innovative approaches—including public-private partnerships, participatory policy design, outcomes funding, and evidence-based policy—into the day-to-day operation of the federal government could achieve real impact.

Data for Social Good: 100 Days for Innovative Solutions - PDF

Data for Social Good: Innovation in the Next Administration

On October 6, 2016, the McCourt School and the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation will host the second convening of Data for Social Good that will explore how the next administration can institutionalize innovation in federal policy making and what strategies the 2016 presidential transition teams should be building to better prioritize innovation in government. The event, which will include guests from the public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors, will coincide with the debut of a joint McCourt School and Beeck Center report, “The Architecture of Innovation: Institutionalizing Innovation in Federal Policy Making”, outlining recommendations to the 2016 presidential transition teams on how the Executive Branch could prioritize innovation in government.

The Architecture of Innovation: Institutionalizing Innovation in Federal Policy Making     Innovation Report- Executive Summary     Innovation Report- Key Findings

Data for Social Good: Reaching Underserved Communities

The Massive Data Institute at the McCourt School and the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation facilitated a conversation with thought leaders in Big Data and civic technology to discuss how these tools can be used in public policy and social innovation, particularly for underserved communities. The event convened industry leaders for two separate panel discussions, one focused on Unlocking Data Across Sectors, featuring opening remarks by Karen Kornbluh, Executive Vice President of The Nielsen Company, and the other on Leveraging Data to Improve International Development.

White House, Georgetown Team Up for Big Data Workshop

On June 19, 2014, the MDI hosted a workshop in partnership with the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy called “Improving Government Performance in the Era of Big Data: Opportunities and Challenges for Federal Agencies,” focused on the opportunities and challenges ahead for federal agencies in light of the increasing availability of massive data sets. The event, keynoted by former counselor to President Obama John Podesta, was part of ongoing effort by the Obama administration to engage subject matter experts and the public in a national discussion about the future of data innovation and policy. Learn more about this past MDI event.

Innovation Expert Discusses Challenges, Opportunities of Technological Growth

Leading technology and innovation expert Alec Ross visited the McCourt School to discuss his book, “Industries of the Future”, and describe the ways in which technology is likely to shape society within the next decade and beyond. His message focused on the rapid and often times uncomfortable change that displaces jobs, diminishes reasonable expectation of privacy, and causes socioeconomic status to be the driving determinant of one’s overall success or failure. Policymakers, he said, have an opportunity – albeit a challenging one – to adapt and begin curing these ills.