By Natalie Michelle Evans Harris
For years my mantra has been, “I just want to see data used to transform lives.” Little did I know that in 2020, the world would need data to save lives and livelihoods.
Responsible data use and data sharing has always been capable of saving lives, of course. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded over the first half of this year, each of us has been made acutely aware of the need for governments, health care providers, nonprofit organizations and others to rapidly use and share data to coordinate their efforts and increase their overall impact.
Suddenly, responsible data sharing is on everyone’s mind.
From months to weeks (or even days)
I know from talking to government and private sector leaders across the country that their capability to quickly use and share data can drastically change their ability to help those most affected by COVID-19. In a global pandemic, the ability to move quickly is – quite literally – a matter of life and death. But responsible data sharing hasn’t always been a rapid effort. Data collaborators have often held that “we can either share data rapidly or responsibly.” But COVID-19 is forcing us to figure out how we can share data rapidly and responsibly.
No longer do we have the luxury of taking four to six months to create data-sharing agreements, integrate technology, and set up robust data-governance structures. Now, this same work needs to take place in weeks, even days.
But how? Through actionable resources that provide templates and pathways for unlocking data.
Responsible Data Use Playbooks
BrightHive, where I’m the Head of Strategic Initiatives, recently published its first two Responsible Data Use Playbooks, which provide a set of simple, powerful “plays” that officials and leaders can execute to rapidly begin using and sharing data responsibly.
Responsible Data Use Playbook for Job Seeker Tools – This playbook provides private sector actors, state and local governments, and the philanthropic community with guidelines to orchestrate the most-effective tools laid-off workers can use to find new jobs.
Responsible Data Use Playbook for Digital Contact Tracing – This playbook supports coalitions, including public health agencies and application developers, in designing and implementing a digital contact-tracing initiative.
Both playbooks are free to access and download. While they don’t overcome all the hurdles to leveraging data for social impact, it’s our hope at BrightHive that these playbooks will help agencies, organizations, and networks increase their ability to meet the needs of individuals and their communities as they continue to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis today – and the needs of our communities into the future.