Where we need help with our survey

We launched out data evolution survey on 6 June 2016 and many of you have already helped us by completing it.

Thanks to a volunteer Data Scientist working with our partner DataKind UK we’ve been able to do some analysis of where people who completed our survey are based.

We’ve looked at our target for completions and broken it down by English region and Wales based on the share of population.

Then we’ve looked at how many responses we’ve received from each of those areas and plotted that on a map.

From this you can see that we are furthest away from our target in the South East and the North West.

If you are based in those areas or know someone in those areas.

Please help us by

Searching for social enterprises

Black and white image of a man looking directly at the camera through binoculars juxtaposed with modern infographicsWe launched our data evolution survey on 6 June.

Thank you to everyone who has taken part so far.

As you might expect, we’ve been keeping a close eye on the data coming out of the survey so far.

And so far it looks like we are missing out on social enterprises compared to charities.

The survey is really short, it will make a big difference to the sector in the future, if you take part, you could win £100 for your organisation.

So if you’re involved in a social enterprise, in any role, please do

Announcing a new event: 6 July Cardiff

NASA phone croppedWe’ve been so pleased with the positive reaction to our project. It seems that many charities and social enterprises are thinking about how they can use data to improve their services.

Please help us by taking part in our survey.

Our colleagues from in GeekSpeak Cardiff have asked us to take part in a special event on 6 July which will focus on data in the voluntary sector. It won’t just be Data Evolution, there will be a talk from ODI-Cardiff and a session on data visualisation.

And it is free.

We really hope you can come.

It’s 6pm-8pm KIN + ILK, Capital Quarter, Tyndall Street, Cardiff CF10 4BZ.

Get your free tickets for GeekSpeak Cardiff now.

The data evolution survey has launched

Black and white picture of a tall ship juxtaposed with modern infographics

Now we really need your help.

Please take part in our phase one survey (5 minutes – tops).

Please tell your colleagues.

The survey will help us in our mission to develop a framework for understanding how social sector organisations use data to make decisions and how they can get better at it.

And everyone who takes part will get the chance to win £100 for their charity or social enterprise.

Don’t delay

What we learned from the Hereford workshop

Yesterday was the second Data Evolution workshop. We were very pleased to be able to welcome Herefordshire, Shropshire and Wales based organisations to the RNC’s Gardner Hall in Hereford.

The general structure of the workshop was the same as our recent London workshop. We’ve once again asked Ben Proctor from Data Orchard to give us his initial thoughts on what we learned:

1. Examples of how other organisations are using data are really powerful. We had two case study talks and they really set the tone for the discussion.
2. There is strength in diversity. We had a huge range of organisations in terms of focus, size and type. Having that diversity really increased the learning and sharing.
3. Some organisations can find it challenging to publish data when it may reveal that some of their interventions didn’t work well. We heard a really powerful story from one our attendees of how being fully open with a funder has created a really strong relationship of trust.
4. The question of open data surfaced more strongly here than in London. It seems clear that many social sector organisations haven’t yet orientated themselves towards publishing some of their own data under open licences.
5. We had the opportunity to explore data maturity models in a little more depth than we had in London. There was a sense that such models could be interesting but they would need to be carefully calibrated to the sector (or to particular areas within the sector)

You can read what we learned from the London workshop too.

The next task ahead of us is the launch of our survey on 6 June. Please spread the word about that amongst your colleagues.

Here’s a flavour of the London event from Twitter

Where can you get help with data?

We have started to compile a list of organisations that provide data support to charities and/or social enterprises.

You can view the list of data support providers now. We’ve embedded the list at the bottom of this page too.

We hope this will be an evolving list.

If you are or know of other organisations that should be added to the list please contact us or add new data support providers directly.


What we learned at the London workshop

Yesterday (Thursday 19 May) we ran the first of our Data Evolution workshops. The second workshop takes place next week in Herefordshire (book now).

It was a packed session and we’re still digesting the outputs. We asked Ben from Data orchard who facilitated the workshop to give us his top five instant reactions.

This is what he said:

1. Data in the social sector is an issue. It is clear that this is something charities and social enterprises are giving thought to right across the country.

2. Getting to grips with data is hard. If it was easy we’d all be doing it. It affects all parts of the organisation and requires culture change and leadership alongside practical adaptations and new technologies.

3. It is right to think about data as a journey. Organisations don’t wake up one day and suddenly become data-driven. It is a process of becoming more confident and sophisticated with data. You can always get better.

4. There is an demand across the sector for more and better help and support with tackling these issues. Demand, currently, significantly outstrips supply. We hope that our project will help to target support more effectively.

5. There are some amazing people working in this space right now and some great experiences. If you are wrestling with data issues in your charity or social enterprise: be proud, you are in excellent company.
This Storify gives you a flavour of the event

Marketing update number 3

We’re been writing to a range of organisations. In particular (but not exclusively) Councils for Voluntary Action/Service to ask them to spread the word about our survey which goes live on 6 June. This map shows the locations of the organisations we have contacted so far. If we’ve missed your area or if you can help us spread the word we’d really appreciate your help.

We’ve published some marketing resources to make that task a bit easier.

We’ve been doing this update fairly regularly. Have a look at marketing update two and the first marketing update.

Seven steps towards becoming a data driven organisation

Grand staircase leading away from the viewer jusxtaposed with modern infographics

Over the past couple of months we’ve been finding out what existing work has been done on Data Maturity and what we can learn from it.
We’ve been trawling the internet, reading the literature, and interviewing some leading people with relevant knowledge and expertise

Our full report is available now. This post draws out some of our key findings.

What do we mean by data maturity?

The concept of data maturity is relatively new and seems to be most widely used and understood in the data science community. We found around 40-50 different models/frameworks and related theories.

In essence what many of the models explain is the journey from looking at retrospective ad hoc data to explain the past,  to a more continuous ‘current/real-time’ understanding of the here and now, a level of optimizing for efficiency and effectiveness, through to the ultimate state of predicting and creating the future.  

How do organisations become more data driven?

1. They put data people at the heart/centre, adjacent to leadership team
2. They start to see data as a key asset.
3. They collect the right data, relevant to the question at hand.  
4. They make data accessible to many in the organisation. Helping people to query, join, relate and share the data across the organisation.   5. They start to see data as a team sport, not just the responsibility of one data person. Over time data should become an intrinsic skill and asset for every team in organization. Across the organisation encourage people to steward and query the data, asking the right questions.
6. They make the time to absorb, discuss and challenge using data.
7. They move from reporting on the past (what happened?) to the present (what’s happening now?) to the future (extrapolation, modeling, recommended action, prediction/simulation).

What stops organisations from becoming more data driven?

1. Lack of understanding on how to use analytics to improve what they do
2. Lack of management capacity (competing priorities)
3. Lack of internal skills
4. Existing culture doesn’t encourage sharing.

How long does it take?

Our research suggests that the journey to maturity is fairly long and challenging though worthwhile in the end.

Several people suggested it can take 5 years of more to develop, implement and reap the rewards of becoming a data mature and data driven organization.  

What are the next steps?

There’s wide range of experience and existing resources to learn from which are referenced in our Data Maturity Report. The most well-rounded and applicable resource we found was a book called “Creating a Data-Driven organisation: practical advice from the trenches“, by Carl Anderson in 2015.

Attend one of our workshops for charity and social enterprise leaders.

Organisations like DataKind UK and Data Orchard CIC are here to help of course, and we’re collecting details of other organisations that could help.

The Data Evolution  project is aiming to develop data maturity models for the social sector. You can help us help the sector by taking part in our survey.


Madeline Spinks and Sian Basker from Data Orchard CIC