Creating social good goes far beyond charity. It is actively changing lives and serving humanity by leveraging available resources, including data and technology.
With modern advancements, we see more awareness of social and environmental concerns—poverty, homelessness, migrant crisis, lack of education, increase in street crimes, and so on. The list of social and environmental problems is endless.
The need to identify these problems and drive innovative solutions is imperative, and with the explosion of data, it has become easier to track down and address issues facing our global society. For example, in Egypt, a group of women created HarassMap, a platform that alerts users of places where sexual harassment is taking place through crowdsourced data.
However, data needs to be used ethically with full involvement of citizens to drive social results with maximum impact. Several companies have taken it upon themselves to create services that leverage data to serve mankind, like DataKind, Mapping Police Violence, and Public Democracy.
These three companies are breaking barriers and working for social good with the help of data.
DataKind, a nonprofit organization, applies data science for social good by collaborating with other nonprofits and helping them harness data science to generate a positive impact for humanity.
Understanding how to use existing data is a big problem for several nonprofits, so DataKind bridges this gap by connecting nonprofits tackling various humanitarian challenges with volunteer data scientists. Having worked with over 200 nonprofit companies across the world, they are propagating the idea of team effort within the nonprofit and data science fraternity.
Mapping Police Violence
An average of three people in the U.S. are killed by police every day. This raises many questions about the use of lethal force and violence in our society. To improve transparency and accountability into these statistics, a nonprofit group called Mapping Police Violence aggregates data from police reports, obituaries, criminal report databases, and other sources to create a comprehensive list of police killings.
To humanize the victims of police violence and provide perspective on where and when these events take place, this organization answers the following questions.
- Who are they?
- What is their ethnicity?
- Why were they killed?
- Where were they killed?
- Were they armed or unarmed?
By visualizing the data available, data that “has been meticulously sourced from the three largest, most comprehensive, and impartial crowdsourced databases on police killings,” this organization’s goal is to offer transparency and hold authorities accountable. They encourage all of us to work together to reduce police violence in our communities.
Public Democracy, a data solutions and marketing intelligence company, uses its extensive database (values data) for social good. Rishabh Jain, Head of New Business and Innovation at LiveRamp explains, “Public Democracy has taken a unique and powerful approach with its data by understanding people through their values and willingness to commit to real-world engagement.”
They’ve been at the forefront of several nationally recognized projects. For example, their Public Democracy Veteran Support Program (PDVets) engages with and supports U.S. veterans with severe PTSD, combating opioid addiction by gaining deeper insight into drug misuse trends, and developing tools to offer support and engagement, especially in rural and low-income communities.
Data used to improve the lives of people
As Alexander Watts, director of insights at BlueDot rightly says, “We’re in a digital age—an age of data—and I think companies have a duty to not just use their data for profit but to find all the different avenues their particular data sets can have a social contribution.”
Are you interested in exploring how data can be used to serve our world for the better? Applying data for social good has led to new and creative ways to address global issues. Register for RampUp today and join us at the Data for Good session at RampUp on March 3. Explore how others have applied data in service of humanity and learn what you can do to actively promote data for good from within your own company.