“Little Data” and Economic Development

I keep waiting for the big data revolution to hit us in the world of economic development.   While the wait continues, I’ve recently been seeing some cool and intriguing uses of data and new visualization tools like Tableau.  Here’s a rundown of cool stuff that we might call “little data” for now.  I’ve got three good examples to share from a local, state, and a national perspective.

  • The Economic Innovation Group’s Index of State Dynamism:  This is a really interesting assessment of the slowdown of US dynamism, reflected in lower business starts, fewer relocations and the like.  It’s good research to begin with, but, thanks to the use of Tableau, you can also access a very enlightening timeline that shows dynamism trends by state from 1992 to 2014.
  • TNECD Performance Metrics:  Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development (TNECD) has just released an excellent new dashboard for their performance metrics.  It’s a clean and very helpful site, and also includes some useful and distinctive metrics for various parts of the TNECD portfolio.
  • Gilbert AZ Office of Economic Development:  In Gilbert, AZ, the Office of Economic Development is using Tableau software to create data visualizations related to local workforce trends.  This material is targeted to employers and provides a quick and compelling picture of the local talent base.

Better data—and better data visualization—is not just cool.  It can have a real impact on how policies are developed and delivered—that’s the real bottom line.   So, one last reference is to check out a new report, Learning to Thrive:  How Data Can Fuel Better Workforce Development Results.  This study portrays how focused benchmarking efforts, and improved data, have led to improved workforce programs and results in Minnesota’s Twin Cities.

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