data tools

There have been a large number of “open data” initiatives by governments around the world and at all levels. Usually, these initiatives involve the posting of large data sets which go largely unused.

(The two exceptions are journalists looking for evidence of scandal and startup web entrepreneurs who are looking for eyeballs on apps that can be monetized.)

The great potential here is to enable citizens to participate in analyzing what works and doesn’t work in government programs — in other words, the co-creation of public policy.

Unfortunately, the statistical techniques that are most appropriate for different kinds of data are not known or very accessible to the public. If only there were a set of intelligent, “user-freindly” statistical tools that could empower the citizen, then many more of them could apply their own creative minds to the development of solutions to public problems.

So the challenge to the community of GIG collaborators (and would-be collaborators): take the best of what’s out there, particularly open source statistical software, and make it accessible to users in a way that intelligently guides them in the use of the software.