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Using Data Science for Social Good

Data science provides the numerical insights on trending topics and significant issues affecting various industries. A data scientist must be able to analyze trends, find connections in large amounts of data, and explain why the connections matter.

While data science seems to be all about the numbers, its true impact goes beyond statistical knowledge. These scientists must also have a creative mindset that shows the meaningful relationships between numbers, products, and behaviors.

Data findings present us with necessary information for deeper insight into our communities. When information derived from data science is shared, the positive impacts are seen in society through individual actions, nonprofit efforts, and government initiatives with a focus on promoting social good.

Some data scientists share a deep concern for social welfare and hope to use their discoveries to promote the betterment of our world. From advancements in healthcare technology to major activist efforts, the relationship between social good and data science can be found all around us, often in ways we may not expect.

Industry Leaders and Respected Universities Know The Importance of Data Science

The crucial role of data science for social good isn’t going unnoticed. Because they are knowledgeable in the respected fields of computer science, statistics, mathematics, and effective communication, the vast majority of data scientists express joy and fulfillment in their career.

Colleges are also stepping forward with innovative programs meant to train data scientists concentrating on social matters. At the University of Chicago, The Data Science for Social Good Fellowship is a summer program with a curriculum built on using data science to address social issues. This comprehensive training program includes courses in big data, data mining, and machine learning by collaborating with organizations looking to address the problems of the real world.

Data Science Adds To The Impact Of Nonprofits

Nonprofits and Nonprofit Government Organizations are seeing major benefits from the use of data science. 90% of nonprofit organizations now focus on collecting data to help fulfill their missions and better serve their communities.

For any nonprofit to operate at its highest level, the resources of time, money, and products must be used wisely. Data science allows social organizations to determine the most efficient and cost-effective ways to provide for those in need without exhausting such precious resources. Furthermore, data science allows organizations to implement more effective marketing strategies when seeking partnerships and sponsors based on a deeper understanding of their audience and the needs of their target market.

One of the most popular real-world examples showing the power of data science can be seen at the website. is driven by data, informed individuals, and an online community that takes action to promote equality and fair treatment by addressing social issues on a worldwide scale.

The petitions that have originated from have saved lives and changed laws. It was a campaign that focused on the need to lower food waste in the United States. With a large number of supporters, the campaign was powerful enough to encourage the major brand Whole Foods to join in the fight against wasting food.

Fueled by research from the MIT Media Lab, is also driven by data to provide emotional support for its users. To understand mental health on an individual level, this app analyzes data based on a user’s cell phone activity. As a result, medical professionals are able to understand their patients better and offer more viable means of treatment.

Qlik has also made a name for itself as a company that offers crucial support to nonprofits through the use of data science for social welfare. The company provides the data that helps nonprofits to make some of the most important decisions for their organization.

Adding to its popularity, Qlik is known for partnering with various agencies to halt the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. Qlik’s data visualization was powered by the combined data of governments and numerous administrations. They used the data visualization to see the treatments that were most effective for Ebola, create alert systems for faster response times, and allocate resources with more efficiency.

Data Science Is A Rational Solution To Promote Social Change

By definition, data science is a scientific, technological, and statistical field. For those working in data science, it’s no secret that this industry also focuses on human interaction.

Data scientists tend to have specialized knowledge in various sectors, and they come together to work on effective methods of collaboration to share information with the general population. It is through proper collaboration that we come to understand the ways in which data science can be put to use to improve how our world functions – showing us that knowledge truly is power.

About the Author

Dr. Ken Sanford is the US lead Analytics Architect for Dataiku. He is a reformed academic economist who likes to empower customers to solve problems with data. In addition, Dr. Sanford teaches courses in Applied Forecasting, Stress testing, and Big Data Tools for Economists at Boston College. He has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Kentucky in Lexington and his work on price optimization has been published in peer-reviewed journals.


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