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Cities that use big data should have a goal in mind: RJMetrics’ Jake Stein

"Is the goal to reduce vacant lots by a certain percentage within a certain amount of time?" Stein said in a Q&A with Next City. "Or to create 10 more parks without increasing the budget by more than 10 percent? Without that, it’s very difficult to rally people to a common goal, and you waste a lot of time working at cross-purposes."

City governments that want to use big data to solve city problems should have a clear, metric-driven goal in mind, said Jake Stein, cofounder of RJMetrics, the Center City firm that helps businesses by giving them access and analysis of their own data.

“Is the goal to reduce vacant lots by a certain percentage within a certain amount of time?” Stein said in a Q&A with Next City. “Or to create 10 more parks without increasing the budget by more than 10 percent? Without that, it’s very difficult to rally people to a common goal, and you waste a lot of time working at cross-purposes.”

A goal is important, and so is “human perspective,” Stein said.

“If you’re trying to resolve a problem, the best data scientists in the world will have a very hard time if they don’t have any context or domain knowledge,” he said.”Once you know what you want to do, you need to figure out from whom you need buy in to make it happen, and then persuade them to act. Data can help, but you usually need more than an awesome chart to persuade people.”

Read the whole Q&A here.

Companies: RJMetrics
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