Powered by Data’s 2018 Year in Review

2018 has been a productive, and at times challenging year. We’ve welcomed more complexity in the ways we think about the merits and limitations of data-driven decision making.  We’ve also had the opportunity to work with diverse stakeholders across public, social, and philanthropic sectors to explore this complexity. As we enter the new year, we wanted to share some highlights from our data strategy and data policy work from 2018.    

CSA Report Cover

We helped leading government agencies and sector initiatives develop better strategies to leverage their data.  

We used a user-centred approach to shape our recommendations for the Canadian Space Agency’s open data strategy. We consulted a wide range of potential users of Canadian space data—from scientists, to members of the media, to educators and private sector stakeholders.  Through surveys and interviews, we were able to collect new data use cases, identify barriers to use, and highlight common user needs when it came to data usability. You can read a summary of our user research and open data recommendations here.

This work was among several consultations we conducted for government in 2018. We also developed recommendations around digital strategy and data mobilization for Canadian Heritage and Natural Resources Canada.


Michael at Giving Tuesday tour

We held workshops on data and philanthropy around the world in collaboration with #GivingTuesday.

We travelled across Latin America, Asia and Europe to discuss data with philanthropic leaders of various regional #GivingTuesday chapters.  At these regional workshops, we discussed how social sector data could help civil society leaders better understand the culture of giving in their region.


PFC Data Grantmaking Cover

We created a series for funders to learn about data-informed grantmaking.

We worked with Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC) to develop a series of issue briefs on evidence-based philanthropy—exploring the role data can play in helping funders understand the funding landscape, measure outcomes, and understand their beneficiaries.

These materials will form part of a longer data learning plan for foundations developed in collaboration with PFC for their membership in 2019.


Admin Data Brief Cover

We explored administrative data reuse with dozens of nonprofits, advocacy groups, and foundations.

Finally, our biggest endeavour this past year has been our exploration of administrative data re-use for social impact in Canada. We’ve talked to dozens of nonprofits and advocacy groups about the ways this kind of data could further their work—including the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Youth in Care Canada, Access Alliance, and Peacebuilders Canada. In the coming year, we will launch a civil society coalition that will work together to create a policy agenda around increased administrative data reuse in Canada. You can read more about this ongoing data policy work here.  We’ll be releasing a progress report on this work in the coming weeks, and encourage you to subscribe to our mailing list if you’d like to stay up to date.


On top of all this, we also held our first weekend staff retreat, launched a new visual identity and organizational mission, and hosted an open data online discussion with the Ontario Trillium Foundation. We shared our work at several conferences and cultivated new relationships across government and civil society. We’re looking forward to another year of working towards a more equitable, data-informed social sector in 2019!

Lorraine Chuen