Over the last nine months, the Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) has visited nearly 50 cities across the United States. These “discovery sessions” help Bloomberg Philanthropies and the What Works Cities initiative collect a national baseline that measures the acuity of cities for using data and evidence to inform policy decisions. Over the next 18 months we will repeat this process with more than 100 additional cities.
One of the biggest themes we hear from cities across the country is that culture change is required within government to make our work a success. There is a personnel bench in government that needs to be deepened, one that often lacks both the technical skill and the open-mindedness that makes this work impactful. To that end, GovEx is building a compendium of resources to support cities and their investment in the people that power their work. Our team actively works with cities, providing technical assistance and coaching designed to impact culture. In addition, we have published this guide for changing culture and hosted an Office Hours session on this topic.
Furthering our investment in the practitioners of data in government, today, GovEx Is launching our first online course, Performance Analytics: Tools and Techniques. Offered in conjunction with Johns Hopkins University, the course is designed as an introduction to open data and performance analytics. It gives an overview of the foundational concepts underpinning open data and performance analytics, but it’s not a theoretical course. It’s a practical course, using real-world examples and hands-on exercises to prepare government employees to plan, promote, and implement an open data and/or performance analytics program in their organization.
We’re very excited about this course and the opportunity to share our experience and knowledge with governments across the country. One of our organization’s overarching goals is to build capacity for decision making that is rooted in evidence, transparent accountability, and community engagement. Through this course, and future courses in development, we can “deepen the bench” of government employees who are trained and experienced with data analysis.
We’re also looking forward to hearing from class participants about what they are doing in their organizations. We think peer-to-peer learning is extremely valuable and that class participants will learn a lot from each other as well. Since this is an online course, we will be promoting interaction through the use of an online discussion board and live virtual “office hours” sessions each week of the course.
As our team works with mid-sized governments across the country, we are continually impressed with their commitment to governing with data. Through GovEx’s course offerings, we will continue to support and nurture their efforts.