Monday, May 10, 2010

Disrupting Philanthropy: The Data Jam

Thanks to everyone who made it to the Philanthropy DataJam, virtually and in person. The video of the event is available here. There were about 1500 of you on and off the livestream over the course of the meeting - wow!

Here's the intro video that the Chronicle of Philanthropy produced - thank you!

Thanks so much to Owen Barder of IATI, Aman Bhandari of the White House Office of Science and Tech Policy, Gavin Clabaugh of the Mott Foundation, Clay Johnson of the Sunlight Foundation, Jessica Sloan of AidData, Brad Smith of the Foundation Center, Aleem Walji of The World Bank and Dennis Whittle of GlobalGiving and the staff and leadership of the Sunlight Foundation, New America Foundation and HAND Foundation. And thanks to the Chronicle of Philanthropy for relaying the video stream.

Here's what I learned, in no order other than that produced by near-exhaustion:
  • There is value in bringing together people from different places in the same sector. I thought the DataJam really benefited from the mix of users, data providers, media, techies, and others.
  • We have to start really listening to potential data users. We are at the beginning of big data supplies, but who will use it and for what is nothing we can predict, we can only listen, experiment, and listen some more
  • One of the ideas shared at the DataJam (Link below provides full list) really seemed to capture people's interest - The RUNNER UP APP, which would provide access to proposals that weren't funded by certain foundations so others could consider them. Interest level is based on informal scan of twitter discussion during and after the event.
  • The paper which fed my thinking for this event, Disrupting Philanthropy, was written "in public." This event was public. Working this way takes a lot of extra time, but the collective thinking is, really, remarkable.
  • App contests are very cool and very fun. But there are a lot of them. Who uses the apps? How do we iterate on the apps? What kind of usage matters? It may be time to move beyond building apps to "field labs with community users.

Here are two documents from the event:

Ideas and questions shared from the group and twitter followers during the IdeaShare:

Set of URLs for the many datasources, apps, and other stuff in my slide deck - many thanks to Adin Miller for pulling this together:

Both of those are editable Google Docs so improve them, share them and - above all - let me and others know what ideas you might want to pursue.

Here is my slide deck.

Here is a link to the final copy of the Disrupting Philanthropy paper.

What, if anything, should we do next? What should we do better? Please share your comments below or on the google docs above about next steps, ideas, steps you'd like to take, things you'd like to try.