Has there been a lack of genuine problem-solving because of the historical lack of demand for data in the social sector? This is the question posed by Tris Lumley in the Guardian article, “It’s Good That Charities Are Interested in Data, But Why Only Now?” The author explains that the sudden excitement over data is fantastic especially for the charity sector. This is taken from the article:
Big data represents a new scale and complexity that might be achieved by combining massive datasets and analysing them to extract insight for charities and social purpose organisations. The Justice Data Lab has already been launched by the Ministry of Justice, working with NPC to explore how charities can use data on reoffending to assess the outcomes of their programmes.
But the author also points out that this late-coming trend deserves further conversation. Lumley poses this question:
If data has the potential to transform the understanding that charities, funders, policymakers and investors have of impact, why has there not been greater demand for data before now?
Lumley says these are important questions so that this data fad doesn’t fade. Instead, cash in on the opportunity and become better at solving problems. The article poses some valid questions and sparks a helpful discussion.
One system that is being used to make major strides in real world applications is Smartlogic. The Semaphore Content Intelligence Platform makes entity extraction possible and is currently being used in healthcare, life sciences, and research-intensive organizations to solve real world problems.
Alice Wilson, May 24, 2013