We just moved into our lovingly named Gingerbread House. We knew when we first crossed the threshold
that it was the home for us, and after a lot of collaboration, we have finally
closed. Buying our home required help
from a number of people and organizations.
In a lot of ways, the process reminds me of successful collective
5. A coordinating entity
that acts as the backbone of the operation
When all of these elements are present, collective impact
initiatives are able to thrive. Data, while a helpful tool for communication,
collaboration, and accountability, can sometimes be left out of the plan for
change. As Forward
Wayne County evolves, we will begin to focus more on shared measurement for
data and results. As the backbone for
collective impact, we have a responsibility to collect, analyze, interpret, and
Data has many uses:
1. Helps groups
2. Initiates community
3. Creates accountability
4. Communicates goals and
If agencies all have a shared understanding of the goals
through numbers, they can help guide each other toward the goal. It is easy to get bogged down in each
individual person’s vision when you are working collectively. Having the same set of data, with the same
measurements, gives a group a common language and clarifies the goal.
During the home buying experience, we were bombarded with
a lot of data. How was our local housing
market performing? How did that
performance affect our options? Did the
options fit in our budget? When buying our home, this data helped us
collaborate with the lender, the realtor, the various sellers and the title
Community Development Work
Data can help us more specifically understand the state
of our neighborhood and give us a start to our community development work. When we look around, we can see signs that
our neighborhood is strong, such as green space and functioning playgrounds. We can also look around and see signs that
our neighborhood needs some tender love and care, such as abandoned buildings
or unmanaged litter in the streets.
Checking in on this data makes community members more motivated to make
Without regular check-ins, we were not always motivated to make progress.
During the home buying
process, we also needed regular check-ins to keep us on track. We would take account of the number of houses
we had looked at, the houses we still needed to view, the features of the
houses we had seen, and how each option fit in our budget. When we did not check-in and review the data,
we ended up forgetting these details and doing rework. Without regular check-ins, we were not always
motivated to make progress.
Data can help us stay accountable. If we are not sure where we stand, how do we
know what to work on next? Neighborhoods
can benefit from data to help increase accountability in areas such as safety
and cleanliness. Using data to report
the number of street lights in a high-crime area of the neighborhood versus a
lower-crime area of the neighborhood can help boost the credibility of a city
Understanding our incomes and the prices of homes, taxes,
insurance, etc. helped us stay accountable and find the right fit for a new
home. When I tried to drive us in the
direction of expensive homes with all the bells and whistles (Hello, 150k home
with 4 beds and 2 baths!), the data helped get us back on track.
There are many different
ways to communicate data. In the monthly
newsletter, data updates are provided alongside evidence of progress in our
areas of Our People and Our Community. Along
with the newsletter, the Forward Wayne County website
is a great place to stop if you would like a more in-depth look at current
facts and figures related to Wayne County.
Soon our website will house dashboards with
a wealth of updated figures related to county benchmarks. Dashboards, also known as data
dashboards, are information management tools that help users easily
see key data related to change progress.
Dashboards are a helpful
method to using data more effectively.
Dashboards can provide a quick look at data across a timespan and can
offer insight into the data being tracked. Organizations can quickly track progress
month-by-month and make fast judgements about the effectiveness of their chosen
plan for change. For example, our realtor helped us stay on track by using a
dashboard of data that looked at our local options, funding capabilities, and
home prices across a set span of time.
How do you think
up-to-date data and the use of dashboards can help Wayne County move
forward? Tell us your thoughts! Be sure to follow us on Facebook,
and use #forwardINwayne when talking about the use of data in your community