– Review by National Research Center ( NRC ) –
The Alliance for Innovation (AFI) – a leading resource of new practices, ideas and community advancement in local government – recently hosted a webinar in partnership with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) describing the necessity of “accountability beyond transparency” when communicating data.
Our data-driven society has moved beyond the act of simply collecting information. Data is used every day by local governments to make decisions. However, this data is used best only when shared with the residents affected by it. “Transparency ensures that the information is there,” said webinar host, Gerald Young of ICMA. “Accountability makes sure that it serves all residents.”
With panelists Steven Gibson of Rock Hill, SC and Wes Hare of Albany, OR, the Alliance webinar answered questions of how best to communicate complex data and how to use that information to make improvements. AFI speakers made clear that with earnest commitment to transparency, local governments can fulfill their responsibility of effectively serving their communities with big data.
Dos and Don’ts of Data Dissemination
Do understand your audience and communicate with them accordingly.
Don’t dump myriads of mystifying, disconnected numbers (simply because you have them) and expect them to mean something.
Do use strong visuals to make information clear and easily understood.
Don’t keep information a secret, controlling it in a way that makes data inaccessible.
Do involve professionals of varied departments and specialties, to analyze and use data in order to take the most advantageous actions possible.
Don’t worry about opponents who would use your data out of context to attack you. Instead, turn any negative backlash into a constructive positive. “It forces us to be better,” said Albany, OR City Manager Wes Hare, stating that criticism can lead to improvement.
Alliance for Innovation hosts webinars and events throughout the year. You can visit them at transformgov.org to learn more.
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National Research Center, Inc. ( NRC ) is a leading research and evaluation firm focusing on the information requirements of the public sector, including non-profit agencies, health care providers, foundations and local governments. Visit our home on the Web at www.n-r-c.com. Check out our blog for more news, tips and human-interest stories from NRC.
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