Thick Data, Lean Start Up Philosophy, Funding Data, Gov't Open Data Roles, DATA Act #DataDigest

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In this issue the learn about the value of "thick data" vs "thin data" and the US government's "Lean Start Up Philosophy".  The Foundation Center and OECD team up to make funding data available and 4 open data roles for government are highlighted while the US Senate approves the DATA Act.


Big Data Applied
Your Big Data Is Worthless if You Don’t Bring It Into the Real World
In this Wired Magazine post Krenchel and Madsbjerg argues that big data is nothing without “thick data”. Thick data refers to the rich and contextualized information gathered only by leaving the computer and venturing out into the real world. Capitalising on big data therefore goes beyond fixing algorithms. They explain that Big Data is really just a big collection “thin data” which is data you get when you look at the traces of our actions and behaviours. To really understand people, we must also understand “thick data” which captures not just facts but the context of facts.
Data for Evidence
The Lean Startup Goes To Washington
In the Stanford Social Innovation Review Jonathan Greenblatt & Scott Hartley, highlight how the US Government is adopting the ‘Lean Start Up philosophy’ by implementing evidence-based policy and applying a highly data centric view to policy and grantmaking. The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) official guidance to federal agencies, and USAID’s Development Innovation Ventures, are given as examples of this. They explain that a better understanding of which programs have the best chance of results can help scale those interventions through public-private partnerships and ensure more robust development ecosystems.
Aid Data
Foundation Center and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Announce Strategic Partnership
The Foundation Center and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have announced a strategic partnership to align and share international funding data (private foundation funding data and development finance data including Official Development Assistance (ODA)) to promote greater visibility and a better understanding of resource allocation in developing countries. Large and varied sets of data will be available to international policymakers, practitioners, and funders to help them improve their strategic decision making.  The Foundation Center and OECD have already collaborated for the Foundation Centre’s web portal, which delivers comparable data on international funding for a more holistic view of aid flows.
Open Data Applied
How government can promote open data
In this report McKinsey explains the important role that government must play to ensure that all sectors of the economy can leverage open data’s estimated $3 trillion in global economic value annually. It puts forward four open-data roles that governments must perform to help citizens, businesses and NGOs leverage data. These include: Data provider; Data Catalyst (catalyst for reuse of open data by supporting actors in its ecosystem), Data User (encourage all government agencies to use it); Policy maker (ensure data is used responsibly).
Open Data News
DATA Act passes Senate, President's desk on the horizon
The US Senate has passed the DATA Act by unanimous consent and it is now on track for Presidential approval. This would mandate federal agencies to report their financial data using standardized open data formats and ensure that more and better data is published online.