It’s clear that data has the power to transform businesses and entire industries, but can it also change the world? When you combine passion and curiosity with analytics – the answer is yes.
From fighting HIV and protecting endangered species to rebuilding after natural disasters, organizations across the globe are harnessing data to improve humanity and make a difference. Applying data science for social good has led to new and creative ways to address issues related to education, poverty, health, human rights, the environment and more.
How can you combine your curiosity with data and analytics to make a lasting impact? Read about the data do-gooders below, and be inspired to take similar action in your community or your industry.
See how data is shaping our world - for the better
Poverty. Health. Human rights. Education. The environment. Interested in making a difference? Join the Data for Good movement. Around the globe, people are banding together and using data to help solve some of the world's most challenging issues.
Applying data science for social good to protect animals
World Wildlife Fund (WWF) uses data management and analytics to help maximize donations that build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Through advanced data modeling, WWF improved revenue for multiple campaigns by 25 percent, and in one year increased their net income while sending 500,000 fewer pieces of mail.
“We can raise the same amount of money with much less expense. That means WWF and its members are more efficiently helping to protect the planet,” says Mac Mirabile, Director of Strategic and Financial Analysis, WWF.
We can raise the same amount of money with much less expense. That means WWF and its members are more efficiently helping to protect the planet. Mac Mirabile Director of Strategic and Financial Analysis World Wildlife Fund
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) uses SAS to help safeguard wildlife. Through analytics, RSPB can better understand the data it collects in an effort to test and develop conservation solutions that protect endangered birds. The society also uses its big data to manage 200 nature reserves.
“Conservation informed by evidence is always more likely to succeed than that based on guesswork or anecdote. SAS enables us to produce the firm scientific evidence needed to confidently implement our initiatives,” says Will Peach, Head of Research Delivery, RSPB.
How government agencies are applying data science for social good
New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has placed analytics at the heart of welfare reform. The agency invests in the support young people need to build a better future and has transformed the way it targets its service-based investments to concentrate efforts on those who need it most. This translates to greater savings of taxpayer money as well as better futures for people and their families.
“We have a golden opportunity in the social sector to use advanced analytics to transform the lives of New Zealanders,” says Paula Bennett, Minister of Social Development in 2014.
San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health in California uses data management and advanced analytics to analyze consumer engagement with the behavioral health system to identify barriers to care, revealing a less stigmatizing picture than many people in the field have thought.
“SAS has given us more credibility, because now the data we’re sharing is easily digestible, valuable and relatable. The opportunity to use data in decision making for public mental health is endless, and analytics get you there,” says Sara Eberhardt-Rios, Deputy Director for Program Support Services, San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health.
Applying data science for social good to help rebuild after disaster strikes
When two earthquakes shattered the lives of Nepalese families, the International Organization for Migration used visual analytics to help them rebuild faster.
“By modernizing our approach to first response through analytics, we were able to understand what the country’s production capacities and inventories are, and work on that very complicated equation of identifying the best way to assist people without creating dependency,” says Brian Kelly, Advisor, IOM.
- Article From living on the streets to owning a profitable businessZoe Empowers, a ministry for vulnerable children living in life-threatening poverty in Africa and India, finally found a way to measure and reveal its incredible impact. Using SAS, they developed an "empowerment index" that measures improvements in housing, health, education and more for program participants.
- Article Applying technology to ensure voter integrity in electionsVoter integrity is becoming a serious concern for many elections. Recent disclosures of foreign influence campaigns using social media highlight the potential impact on the integrity of the democratic process. In monitoring your systems, technology can identify both legitimate and fraudulent activity; the balancing act is to minimize the impact on legitimate activity while preventing acts of cyber-criminals and fraudsters.
- Article Using analytics to prevent deadly infections Dignity Health’s Bio-Surveillance Program predicts new sepsis cases, allowing early intervention and saving lives.
- Article Supporting indigenous communities with analyticsThough indigenous women are a small part of Canada's population, they account for a disproportionately large number of Canada's murder victims. Now, big data and analytics are being used to help improve outcomes.