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A podcast about government and data. Telling stories from practitioners and academics about how data affects communities and the lives of residents.

A podcast about government and data. Telling stories from practitioners and academics about how data affects communities and the lives of residents.
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A podcast about government and data. Telling stories from practitioners and academics about how data affects communities and the lives of residents.




Data Points Episode #60: Food Insecurity & Teens

During the holidays, food drives and charitable giving campaigns raise awareness of food insecurity, but people experience disruptions in access to healthy food year round. New research by Dr. Kristin Mmari and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) School of Public Health reveals that some adolescents engage in risky behavior to get access to food or money to buy food. In this Data Points episode, our GovEx Director of Applied Research discusses these findings with Dr. Mmari and...


Data Points Episode #59: Improvement Science in Education

When we thinking of measuring outcomes in education, we often think of test scores as the ultimate indicator. But a team of practitioners and researchers in Baltimore City are working together to use a science-based method to identify and implement incremental changes, and to empower teachers, school leaders and others to understand and use multiple layers of data in their day-to-day work. On this episode of Data Points we speak with Jarrod Bolte, founder of Improving Education; Faith...


Data Points Podcast Episode 58 - Counties and Data

At GovEx, a lot of our work is focused on cities. But counties play a crucial role in using data to improve public outcomes as well. From health to elections and justice programming, counties provide critical services to people across the US. To explore these often overlooked stakeholders in government data work, we are diving deep through a conversation with two represenatives from NACo, the National Assocation of Counties. In this episode, we talked with Natalie Ortiz and Kathy Rowings...


Data Points Podcast Episode 57 - Ethics and Algorithms

Algorithms are a growing part of government work. They play a part in items ranging from traffic light decisions to criminal sentencing and a variety of topics in between. However, there is not a consistent way to think about algorithms as a public sector employee, leading to a wide range of usage. GovEx and a few partners set out to change that through the creation of the Ethics and Algorithms Toolkit. In this episode, we talk with Joy Bonaguro, former Chief Data Officer for the City and...


Data Points Podcast Episode 56 - What is a Smart City?

Being a Smart City is a new hot goal for cities. From Singapore to Amsterdam and anywhere in between, cities are trying to become smarter and implementing projects that include "smart city" components. But what does it mean? What makes a city smart and what components make a project relevant for smart cities? Because of the variety of concepts and definitions (check out the Wikipedia page for a long list of possibilities) we take a deeper look at Smart Cities in this episode. Along with our...


Data Points Podcast Episode 55 - Creating Racial Equity in Grand Rapids

Racial equity is a challenge cities across America are grappling with on a daily basis. In this episode, we will take a deep dive into the innovative and data-driven approach which Grand Rapids, Michigan is taking to meet this complex issue head on. Over the past six months, GovEx, through What Works Cities, has been supporting Grand Rapids' efforts to increase racial equity by improving data management practices and bringing data and evidence into the decision-making process, and bettering...


Data Points Podcast Episode 54 - Tactical Data Use with Sunlight

Enabling more use of public data is a key challenge for cities across the country. This week, we will be talking with our partners from the Sunlight Foundation about their efforts to improve Tactical Data Engagement. For this episode, we’re joined by Stephen Larrick, Open Cities Director at Sunlight. Stephen leads all city-focused work for Sunlight, including work we've done together on open data through the What Works Cities Initiative. Sunlight's recent work has focused increasingly on...


GovEx Data Points Episode 53: Culture Change Miniseries

About two years ago, Tempe, Arizona’s mayor and council committed to moving towards more transparent and data informed decision making. Since that time, the city has passed an open data policy, developed an active open data program, created Tempe Accelerates — a regular City Manager led, data focused strategy session that’s open to the public — and launched a new tool for performance based budgeting. Collectively, it all represents quite a bit of change in the way that Tempe decisions are...


3rd Birthday Minisode

Happy birthday to us! As GovEx turns three, Eric and Sharon (who have both been around since its beginning) take a quick look back at the top highlights over the years, including the first What Works Cities Summit, growing from two people with no office space to a team of 25 working in over 100 cities around the world, and we also peer into the future to give you some insights on what's next for GovEx.


Data Points Podcast Episode 52 - Culture Shifts in Durham, NC

This week we’re starting a mini-series on data and culture change. We will be taking a look at several different approaches to building a culture of data use with city partners from around the country. For this episode, we’re joined by Josh Edwards of Durham, NC. Josh is the Strategic Plan Director in the budget department and also the director of the city’s Innovation Team. Josh oversees a variety of projects related to data in the city and has built several initiatives to help spread data...


Data Points Podcast Episode 51 - What's up with Participatory Budgeting

Budgets are often long, complicated, and difficult for the average city resident to understand. But they don't have to be. Participatory budgeting is a tool growing in use that helps residents understand and actively contribute to budgeting decisions in a city. Since it started in Brazil in the 1980s, participatory budgeting has spread around the world. In this episode, we talk with representatives from two organizations using different participatory budgeting mechanisms to explain the why,...


Data Points: Open Data Day Special Mini-sode

In honor of Open Data Day 2018, cohosts Sharon Paley and Eric Reese bring you this special mini episode of Data Points. We share our three favorite (and quick) tips for opening data in your government. Let us know how you are celebrating Open Data Day and if you enjoy this extra short version of the podcast by email us at


City Health Dashboard - NYU

This week we talk with Dr. Marc Gourevitch and Dr. Jessica Athens, professors at New York University’s School of Medicine and Public Health. They’ll talk to us about the city health dashboard they’ve been developing for cities across the US. The City Health Dashboard is a web resource that enables community leaders and advocates for health, education, housing, and other policy areas in four pilot cities to easily see where they stand on 26 key measures of health and drivers of health. The...


Data Points Episode 49 - LEO Labs Fighting Poverty

The Fighting Irish are fighting poverty at the Wilson Sheehan Lab for Economic Opportunities (otherwise known as LEO) at the University of Notre Dame. The center is identifying the data-centric, effective and scalable programs that help people move out of poverty. LEO’s research is conducted by Notre Dame faculty "as well as scholars from across the country with expertise in designing and evaluating the impact of domestic anti-poverty programs." In this episode, we talk to James Sullivan,...


Data Points Podcast Episode 48 – Cincy Insights with Leigh Tami

Cities use data to tackle almost every problem imaginable. This includes the serious issue of opiods and overdoses. Using data to tackle serious issues in a public way is a great benefit of open data and performance analytics work and this week we dive...


Data Points Podcast Episode 47 – 2017 Wrap-Up

It’s always good to pause and reflect. As the calendar page turns from 2017 to 2018, Eric and Sharon take time out to wrap up 2017 and discuss everything that’s happened on the Data Points podcast in the past year.


Data Points Podcast Episode 46 – Algorithms, Law, and Openness

Many people know about algorithms. But we often don’t know much about them and how they work. In Episode 39 Weapons of Math Destruction, guest Cathy O’Neill described the basics of applications of algorithms in government. Today,


Data Points Episode 45 – Mayors Challenge

This week, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the selection committee for its fourth US Mayors Challenge. The Mayors Challenge will invest $17.5 million in American cities to test and implement innovative and shareable solutions that tackle today’s tou...


Data Points Episode 44 – Data Standards Directory

Data standards — what are they, where do you find them, and how should you use them? On this week’s episode of Data Points, we are highlighting the launch a new data standards directory which has be cocreated by GovEx and GeoThink at McGill University....


Data Points Episode 43 – Understanding the Fed

The Federal Reserve is a key part of the US financial infrastructure. But how does it work? And how does it make decisions using data the affects local, state, and federal government agencies and millions of Americans? In this episode,