Reading List for May 1

As you no doubt know from previous GovEx blog posts, we are both avid readers and Slack users. Every week, we pass around numerous topical articles related to how governments use data to make smarter decisions and improve outcomes for their constituents.

But why keep these interesting tidbits locked inside our own Slack channels? Are we not all about openness and transparency at GovEx? Shouldn’t we be sharing these curated articles with readers of our blog? (Are we asking too many rhetorical questions?)

It is in that spirit we share with you these articles we were passing around in the last week…

How Information Graphics Reveal Your Brain’s Blind Spots

ProPublica
Perception is reality, presumably. But our minds aren’t the most reliable of devices, according to this article. There are ways you can use data visualization to overcome some of our minds’ shortcomings, some of which are explored here. This post also offers a collection of cool and (often0 interactive data visualizations. If you are thinking about how best to visualize data your own data, get started with our Data Visualization Primer.

4 Reasons Data Analytics Often Fail

Governing 

Take a brief look at why data analytics projects don’t stick or work when applied to government–including talent shortages, poor data quality, and our personal favorite “because its not about data.” This article rightly warns about the dangers of parking data analytics in your IT department when analytics is not an IT solution. Instead it is a method which governments would do well to employ across the enterprise and all levels. Learn to identify and cultivate talent in your government (for data analytics and other data-driven projects) with our Cultivating Talent Guidebook.

Looking At 2 Participatory Budgeting Processes

Route Fifty

In the past several years, interest in participatory budgeting has gained popularity. But actually collecting input from constituents and allowing them to dedicate dollars remains a stumbling block for many governments. The Participatory Budgeting Project and Every Voice Engaged offer two different (but equally valid) platforms for including the public in budget decisions. Route Forty takes a look at both of these solutions including case studies on their use IRL.

This May Be The Best Way To Measure Gun Violence In America

The Washington Post

When we look only at homicides as an indicator of gun violence, we are missing a lot of information. In an effort to get a fuller picture of how and where guns are being used, The Washington Post profiles ShotSpotter. The company offers devices which “listen” for gunshots and report them to the authorities. The data collected by ShotSpotter not only helps accurate deploy emergency personnel, it’s also assisting researchers evaluating programs meant to target violence.

Investigating The Potential For Miscommunication Using Emojis

GroupLens

Like the first article listed above, this post also examines how different people perceive information in (sometimes) vastly different ways. Although this a lighter hearted look at how emojis are interpreted and represented across various technology platforms, it goes to show that we need to be careful how we express ourselves symbolically.

Same emoji appears differnet across multiple platforms