Part 4

Driving Decisions with Data

Editor’s Note

What happens when local governments focus on open data as a tool for making better decisions—moving beyond transparency to become data-driven entities themselves? In this section, we hear from practitioners who share the rationale and results behind their efforts to help government not only open data for public use, but to internally leverage data to continuously improve business processes, policy, and resource allocation.

In Chapter 15, Mike Flowers, the first-ever Chief Analytics Officer for New York City, describes New York City’s success of applying predictive data analytics to create efficiencies in government leading to real service delivery improvements. From their bootstrap beginnings based on leveraging existing open datasets, he traces the arc of their program’s successes and expansion.

Next, Beth Blauer shares her experience building the first statewide performance improvement program with Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley in Chapter 16. She documents the key success factors she learned while building that program, and shares how she is now using her work in the private sector at open data provider Socrata to help make performance management programs easier for other local governments to implement.

Chapter 17 provides of a case study of Louisville’s evolution of the StateStat approach. Louisville’s Theresa Reno-Weber (Chief of Performance Management) and Beth Niblock (Chief Information Officer) describe the tangible successes of open data for performance management through the LouieStat program—including reducing the amount spent on unscheduled overtime by $3 million annually. Focusing on Louisville’s adoption of the lean startup “minimum viable product” model, they extrapolate lessons that can help cities across the country better use open data to build capacity to do more with less.

Ken Wolf and John Fry, who have extensive experience at working with local governments to implement their performance management software, build upon the case studies of data-driven performance management in other cities with an outline of the long term vision for collaborative benchmarking and sharing of best practices in comparative advantages between cities. In Chapter 18, they share the early indications that this opportunity exists, and what’s needed to take it further.