Organizations in the social sector are increasingly exploring and applying new technology for data analysis to inform decision-making, build engagement, and track impact. In 2014, Kaiser Permanente and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation saw an opportunity to reach out to funders, organizations, innovators and developers in multiple sectors to identify gaps and opportunities for leveraging data and technology to support healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities. The foundations engaged Network Impact to surface and frame ideas, areas of alignment and leading opportunities for investment. Network Impact used a listening and ideation process to draw insights from key stakeholders and then synthesized their research into a series of recommendations for the field.
Three overarching priorities emerged for bringing the social sector up to speed with other sectors that are more effectively leveraging data in their work:
- Invest in a Data Ecosystem that Advances the Goals of the Social Sector -- which includes the environment from data to decision maker, and focuses on: data infrastructure (access to data, data standards, and data collection), data analysis, and information and knowledge sharing within and between sectors to improve outcomes.
- Advance Equity and Social Justice -- which includes using data as a tool to reveal disparities and inform action and progress; ensuring data and technology literacy for people, organizations and communities; and privacy and data-sharing roles for all stakeholders.
- Build a Data-Informed Culture -- which includes considering what a data-informed culture means internally for organizations and externally for their partners and the field.