We consume and produce data at ever growing rates, aiming to better understand the past, observe the now, and to be better prepared for the future. However, data can only fulfill its purpose when we can make sense of it, generate insights, and put it into action. The process of turning data into insights requires many steps, and doing it effectively involves many strategies.

Step 1: Visualization …



Imagine a tool where you have text and a computer automatically highlights key themes. No need to do complex coding, no word counts that are used to explore the text — just keywords and phrases identified. This is exactly what the tool Textio does for job descriptions. It automatically provides an effectiveness score and identifies words and phrases that affect whether applicants will apply for a job: …



Data visualization requires more than design skills. You need both technical and critical thinking skills to create the best visuals for your audience. It is important to match your visualization to your viewer’s information needs. You should always be asking yourself: “What are they looking for?”

1. Understand your audience before designing your visualization
The first and most important consideration is …



Image Source: AidData

How do you analyze data you collect from surveys and interviews?

One way to analyze data is through data visualizations. Data visualization turns numbers and letters into aesthetically pleasing visuals, making it easy to recognize patterns and find exceptions.

We understand and retain information better when we can visualize our data. With our decreasing attention span …



In his 2006 TED talk, Hans Rosling used data visualizations to deconstruct his students’ assumptions about the ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ dichotomy of countries. He looked at the patterns and demonstrated how they were easily recognizable and showed something contrary to the original belief. Pattern recognition is the core power of data visualization and more companies are embracing the notion of  “putting humans back in …



On February 26, USAID received the “Best Government Policy for Mobile Development” award at GSMA’s Mobile World Congress 2013. And while the Mobile Solutions team was receiving an award in Barcelona, TechChange and the MS team were also receiving over 1,500 mobile poll responses from recipients in DRC taking part in an online exercise designed by 173 USAID staff and implementing partners in 21 countries. …



For the past year TechChange advisor Matt McNabb has been engaged in an experiment to enable businesses and organizations in emerging and frontier markets to collect, visualize, and share geosocial data. Today the BETA goes live.



Are you interested in learning with TechChange? Check out our next class: Digital Organizing and Open Government. Class starts April 8, 2013. Apply Now.

How can USAID use mobile technologies to more effectively collect, analyze and share data?  These are the central questions we will be addressing as part of a new course TechChange has developed in partnership with …



“Team Rubicon is doing for disaster response what the Obama team did for political campaigns,” said Jonathan Morgenstein while taking a break from tearing down moldy drywall in hurricane-damaged Rockaway, Brooklyn. A New York native and US Marine Corps veteran who served two tours in Iraq, Morgenstein had spent the last month working on the campaign trail with Veterans and Military Families for Obama. He was …



This post was originally published on the NDITech DemocracyWorks blog by Lindsay Beck (view original post), a student in TechChange’s recent course at George Washington University. For more information, please consider following @BeckLindsay and @NDITech.

As technology closes the time between when events happen and when they are shared with the world, understanding what approaches and …