Beeck Data + Digital projects featured in Ideas That Transform series

October 13, 2020 – By Cori Zarek

Since 2014, the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University has led the way with new ideas and approaches to reimagine our institutions to ensure they are designed to serve the people who need them most. 

We know we can track our package or pizza delivery every step of the way, but not an application for unemployment insurance. The technology exists, it’s just not accessible to everyone—and of course public services are far more complicated than packages and pizzas. We’ve looked at many of these systems to understand the tools and practices needed to make them better so we can work with institutions to implement change. Our Data + Digital portfolio now features nearly 30 fellows, students, and staff, and has organized around three main pillars to reimagine and rebuild trust in our institutions: Public Interest Technology Field Building, Data for Impact, and Infrastructure for Opportunity.

In the coming weeks, we’re partnering with our collaborators to feature some of this work as part of the Beeck Center’s Ideas That Transform series—we hope you’ll join us to hear more about what we’ve been up to.

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Public Interest Technology Field Building

The past decade has seen the founding and rise of what our friends at the Ford Foundation and New America have identified as public interest technology—using the tools and practices of modern design, data, and technology to work toward better outcomes in society. As the field matures, we’ve been thinking a lot about  how to raise its profile for greater credibility, to support public interest technology workers through skills building and mentorship opportunities, and how to cultivate community among those of us doing this work. Here are a couple events where you can learn more about our Public Interest Tech Field Building work.

  • Book club: The Beeck Center’s Taylor Campbell talks with public interest tech leader Cyd Harrell on lessons from Cyd’s new book, A Civic Technologist’s Practice Guide, on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at 1pm ET. Taylor and Cyd will focus on ways that curious, passionate people who work in private-sector tech can become civic technologists and use their careers to make a different kind of impact. Register
  • Managing change: Transitions are a way of life in government—whether there’s a change in management, new policies to carry out, or even a new administration—and we’re bringing together colleagues who have navigated a number of government transitions with a focus on continued support for data and tech through those changes. Join us on Thursday, Oct. 22 at 1pm ET for this conversation. Register

Data for Impact

The Beeck Center has long known that data can drive economic prosperity, more effective policies, and help us measure what matters. In projects pressing for data-driven approaches at all levels of government and throughout communities, Beeck fellows have led the way to make the case for data as a priority and to train teams to best use data to carry out their work. Chief Data Officers in government have a critical role helping governments prioritize data as a way to achieve their policy goals, and since September 2019, the Beeck Center has been leading states in this work as the home of the State Chief Data Officers Network. We’ll feature their work in an event next week.

  • Data-driven recovery: Join Tyler Kleykamp and Katya Abazajian on Monday, Oct. 19 at 12:15pm ET for a conversation about how neighborhood data can support state and local economic recovery from this pandemic in an event held in partnership with Smart Cities Week. Register

Infrastructure for Opportunity

When our systems use leading-edge practices and tools, they’re better equipped to serve people and to make it easier for the workers administering them. From reimagining foster care licensing, to scaling tools to make it easier for families to apply for social safety net benefits, to developing open source software for high-priority policy needs like unemployment insurance and paid family leave, our fellows and partners are rebuilding the infrastructure we need for greater opportunity and better outcomes. Learn more about some of this work in these upcoming events.

  • Follow the money: Government technology policies and projects often come with big budgets and relatively little oversight—and, unsurprisingly, most fail. Beeck fellows Robin Carnahan and Waldo Jaquith spent four years at 18F pushing for better ways to budget for and oversee government tech projects to make them less risky and documented it in the recently released De-Risking Guide for government technology. Join them on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 3pm ET for lessons that other government teams can adopt to avoid costly projects that don’t deliver. Register
  • Fostering better outcomes: Child welfare programs across the country help some of our country’s most vulnerable children and do so with limited resources. Non-governmental organizations such as Foster America and Think of Us work with partners, parents, and children to support and reimagine what’s possible. Beeck fellow Emily Tavoulareas has partnered with New America fellow Marina Nitze, these organizations, and public servants across the country to co-create the Child Welfare Playbook that captures tested best practices in a manner that is easy for others to adopt and replicate. Emily will facilitate a conversation with child welfare leaders on the results of recent field research examining how to improve life outcomes for youth of the foster system. Join us on Wednesday, Oct. 28 at 4 p.m. ET. Register

Through all of our efforts, we aim to work in the open and document what we find so others can learn from it and scale what works. We also work collaboratively with others—these efforts rely on entire ecosystems to be successful and we aim to convene and coordinate networks and communities of practice to work together for greater impact. Finally, we know this work is never done, so we invite you to pull up a chair and hear what we’ve been up to through this series and we look forward to adding more chairs at the table so we can do this important work together.

Cori Zarek is the Director of the Data + Digital portfolio at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation. Follow her at @corizarek.

September 23, 2019 | By Cori Zarek

The Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University enthusiastically welcomes two leaders in data, technology, and innovation to our team as fellows for Fall 2019. Kyla Fullenwider joins having just completed a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School and was the first Chief Innovation Officer for the U.S. Census Bureau, and Tyler Kleykamp was most recently the first Chief Data Officer for the State of Connecticut.

Both Kyla and Tyler join the Center’s Data + Digital team, which brings together digital service professionals and data experts from government, civil society, industry, academia, and the public to conduct research, collaborate on and share solutions, and expand the network in these fields.

Kyla’s fellowship focuses on the implications of our nation’s first digital census in 2020 and she will work in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship. Drawing on her background from her time at the Census Bureau, she is supporting actions that local governments, journalists, leading digital platforms, and the public can take to prepare and participate in this crucial function of our democracy. Kyla is a longtime faculty member at a number of universities and will also be teaching workshops and seminars on social innovation and civic entrepreneurship at Georgetown University.

“I wanted to join the Beeck Center as a Fellow because I find the Center’s focus on real world impact critically important to the challenges facing our democracy right now,” Kyla shared. The needs are so urgent, the consequences so far reaching that we must all challenge ourselves to find solutions that are responsive to our times but also cognizant of what can be.”

Tyler joins the Beeck Center to build the capacity of state governments to use data for positive public impact and improve the delivery of services. As more states establish Chief Data Officers to lead management and responsible use of data, Tyler will build out this community of practice to develop and share best practices among the CDOs to support them as they leverage data to drive measurable outcomes in their states. Tyler will also teach workshops and seminars on data and Geospatial Information Systems.

I was drawn to the Beeck Center because its mission of impact at scale,” Tyler said. “States are the perfect place to leverage data to address some of our most challenging social issues and I’m excited to have the opportunity to advance the positive impact that data can have when used responsibly.

Kyla and Tyler join other Beeck Fellows on the Data + Digital team including Natalie Evans Harris, Cara LaPointe, Lorelei Kelly, Denice Ross, Hollie Russon Gilman, Emily Tavoulareas, and Christopher Wilson.

More About Kyla Fullenwider

Kyla Fullenwider portraitKyla Fullenwider is a Fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation where she is leading work around the digital implications of the 2020 Census. She comes to Beeck from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School where she was the in-resident Entrepreneurship Fellow. She previously served as the first Chief Innovation Officer of the U.S. Census Bureau and also served as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, part of a groundbreaking initiative to modernize the U.S. federal government by bringing top executives, entrepreneurs, technologists, and other innovators to improve federal programs that serve more than 150 million Americans.  

Kyla has been Visiting Professor of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the American University of Rome, was founding faculty in the Products of Design department at the School of Visual Arts, and taught in the joint MBA/MA program at Johns Hopkins and the Maryland Institute of Art. She is a Cofounder and board member of Seattle-based Imperative and has a diverse portfolio of work at the intersection of civic innovation, entrepreneurship, and social design. Previous work includes directing Garden in Transit for the City of New York; developing and serving as the Community Ambassador for the Pepsi Refresh Project and GOOD Magazine; and creating Etsy’s first annual Values & Impact report. She’s led other programs and initiatives with the City of Los Angeles, the City of Baltimore, the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, UCLA, and the Legacy Foundation as well as a number of federal agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the United States Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation among others. 

Kyla’s work has been featured in the New York Times, L.A. Times, New York Magazine, and Fast Company and in case studies authored by the Harvard School of Business and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She is a native of Louisville, Kentucky and is currently based in the Washington D.C. area 

More About Tyler Kleykamp

Tyler Kleykamp headshotTyler is a fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation where he will focus on building the capacity of state governments to use data for positive public impact and to improve the delivery of services. Tyler was the State of Connecticut’s first Chief Data Officer (CDO) and one of the first state CDOs in the nation. In his role as CDO, Tyler led Connecticut’s efforts to use data to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs, policies, and services. He oversaw data analytics and transparency master planning, leveraging open source tools and technology to create cost-effective and scalable solutions to solve some of Connecticut’s most intractable data challenges. He is the creator of the DataOps for Government framework, which applies Lean continuous process improvement and agile software development techniques to data and analytics pipelines in government. 

Tyler spearheaded the passage of several pieces of innovative legislation enabling Connecticut to enhance data integration and formulated the first ever State Data Plan. Tyler also served as Chair of the Connecticut Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) Council, as well as the State GIS Coordinator. Throughout his career in government spanning four different administrations, Tyler has led numerous initiatives to improve data and information sharing including: emergency management and disaster response, transparency and accountability during the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and land use and economic development activities. In 2016, Tyler was the recipient of the U.S. Open Data Institutes’ “Open Data Pioneer” award and was named a “Data and IT Innovator” by Route Fifty. In 2019, Tyler was named one of Government Technology’s “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers, and Drivers.”