Data Alone is Not Enough: 4 Challenges Which Exist for Leveraging Data for Better Policy Making

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Media Outlet: Govloop

Hollie Russon Gilman gave four suggestions for incorporating data into government for Govloop.

With the news that the Ryan-Murray bill is proposing each agency to name a chief data officer and chief evaluation officer, we wanted to share four key lessons based on conversations with chief data officers across varying levels of government. The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2017 includes the goals to “establish a more secure, transparent, and efficient data system that will help federal agencies better assess the effectiveness of their programs.” This presents an opportunity for taking stock of what works and way towards delivering more data enhanced governance.
The increased availability and prevalence of data in government agencies opens a new discussion of how agencies can use this information to better support their priorities and policies, and to improve public outcomes. However, applying data for enhanced decision making also poses many challenges across sectors. Here is an exploration of the different challenges that agencies face today, including excessive information, merging new and old technologies, lack of trust, and a gap in data knowledge.


Hollie Russon Gilman is a fellow at New America. She holds a PhD from Harvard's department of government and is the former White House Open Government and Innovation Advisor.