How Can We Solve Our Social Problems

Tableau Public lets you visualize all kinds of data (no coding experience needed) for free – like someone did with this At Datassist, we specialize in helping nonprofits, journalists, and social sector organizations collect, analyze, and understand data.If you need help applying data to any part of your efforts to solve social problems, we’re here to help.

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Data, as we’ve discussed before, is about so much more than just counting how many people need your help or measuring how much of a difference your efforts are making.

Many nonprofits are using data in innovative ways to help solve social problems.

We learned how to think very well about the physical world, and how to unleash the power in that knowledge.

But perhaps we have yet to learn how to think about what to do with our tools.

A few centuries ago, a few people began questioning the assumption that people knew how to think about the physical world.

Neither philosophy nor religion seemed to be able to stave off famine and epidemic.The team behind Understanding Homelessness is aiming to use open, public, and internal data to improve the understanding of homelessness in the US. They are also examining who it affects, where, how and why it has become a problem, and what solutions are most effectively addressing it.The group hopes to help mitigate the negative stigma associated with homeless populations, shine a light on homelessness location data, and help find solutions for cities, social sector organizations, and private citizens to eliminate homelessness in their area.I agree with this, and see it as evidence that it is possible to relieve twice as much, a thousand times as much human misery as previous inventions. Human use of technologies have created even greater social problems — antibiotics are misused and supergerms evolved; nuclear wastes and weapons are threats, not enhancements; the green revolution swelled the slums of the world as agricultural productivity rose and global agribiz emerged. There is no market for solving social problems, and it isn't the business of government to get into the technology or any other kind of business. Some technologies such as the digital computer and the Internet were jump-started by governments, evolved through grassroots enthusiasms, and later become industries and "new economies." 5.Throwing technology at problems can be helpful, but the fundamental problems are political and economic and rooted in human nature. A tool is not the task, and often the invisible, social, non-physical aspects of a technological regime make all the difference.(The Understanding Homelessness project is using data in a number of ways to help solve social problems.Rather than just counting the homeless population in a given area, they are using data to answer more in-depth questions — giving those with the power to help a greater understanding of the problem.Obviously, a major factor in using data to solve social problems is measuring the impact your efforts are having. Data on the success or failure of similar programs in other areas can help nonprofits solve social problems using methods that are more likely to succeed.There is no single solution, and different responses will suit different situations.They also cannot be solved by breaking them down into their components, which means that a potential solution depends on how the problem is framed.Identifying emerging opportunities to address wicked problem spaces was the goal of a joint research effort between the Strategic Research team at The Rockefeller Foundation and Accenture Development Partnerships.

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