The Beeck Center’s Data Labs program, in partnership with the National Governors Association, has been recognized on Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech list, which honors technology breakthroughs that promise to shape the future of industries and governments.
Data Labs joins Adobe, Github, and Walmart, among others, on this year’s list of honorees who are poised to have a positive impact for consumers, businesses, or society at large in the next five years.
“The Next Big Things in Tech is not just a look around the corner—it’s a look around the corner after that,” says Brendan Vaughan, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “These are the products and ideas that will define technological innovation for the rest of this decade and beyond—and solve some of the world’s most pressing issues. We are thrilled to honor the organizations that are making them a reality.”
Data Labs aims to improve data use in decision-making within state governments. While many government leaders aspire to be data-informed, they can face challenges sharing data across state agencies, having the capacity to analyze data, and effectively using data to improve service delivery. Data Labs helps states launch data-sharing projects that improve the lives of residents by improving government services. To do this, the program convenes cross-functional functionally diverse state teams, offering them in-depth technical assistance, and helping them leverage insights from subject matter experts.
The first Data Labs cohort which included data and policy experts from California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, and Wisconsin, met from September 2021 to May 2022. During this nine-month period, the state teams collaborated on data projects to identify education pathways to high demand jobs, improve utilization of supportive housing benefits to alleviate growing homelessness, and enhance support for small businesses in their state.
The second cohort, which kicked off in March 2023, includes teams in Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, Nevada, and West Virginia, is currently working on data projects to improve student progress and outcomes, pathways to career opportunities, and access to safety net programs that support families such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
By pairing a human-centered design curriculum with individualized support, Data Labs is able to give state teams a framework to think through data challenges and solutions and customized guidance that meets state teams where they are at. This holistic approach sets teams up to solve the right problem with a right-sized solution for greater long-term impact. This forward-thinking approach is a key tenet to Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech.
“We are thrilled to receive Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech award! Data Labs is an innovative, first-of-its kind program,” said Ali Benson, Program Lead of Data Labs. “The recognition from Fast Company further validates the tremendous demand and demonstrated impact we have seen so far. This speaks to what is possible when states are equipped with a robust plan of action that applies a human-centered design approach to data-informed decision making.”
Fast Company’s Next Big Things in Tech list recognizes Data Labs’ success in improving data approach to policy and decision-making. Many individuals and families have benefited from this program, and the program has seen significant tangible results across Colorado, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
The Beeck Center is thrilled that Data Labs project teams are getting recognized for their hard work and success alongside other groundbreaking technologies working to make a difference.
States interested in participating in the Data Labs program are encouraged to email us to be notified when the application period opens in February 2024.