Editorial: 4 simple steps to get government leaders on the ‘Data Diet’

I recently saw a T-shirt that said, “Data is the new bacon.” And it certainly seems that way — everyone is hungry to find, acquire and consume data, and the market is answering the call.

In the past few months, we have seen the White House launch a new Smart Cities Initiative and host a forum on citizen science and crowdsourcing. General Electric started rebranding itself as a digital company helping cities become more intelligent. My own organization, Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence, through our partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities program, is helping 100 mid-size cities accelerate their use of data and evidence to improve people’s lives.

As this data consumption becomes increasingly widespread, practitioners must avoid using technical jargon that not every public servant, let alone the public, can decipher. The esoteric language can be alienating and seem far removed from the problems governments need to solve. Continue…