DataKind Is A Big Data Organization With A Big Heart »

We all know that big data is the next big thing, and that its impact on the business world has already been tremendous. In a knowledge economy information is power, and massive amounts of information can yield huge results. Yet, while money does arguably make the world go round, it’s not the only thing that matters, right?

DataKind is setting out on a unique mission. The organization is looking to harness the power of big data for the good of the world. Perhaps that sounds a bit over the top, but give me a minute to explain. Numerous NGOs and other organizations are engaged in a huge number of social service activities around the world. While many of these organizations are well-funded, often due to the generosity of their donors, they lack the resources and skills needed to leverage big data for their own organizational goals.

DataKind aims to change that. Like big data companies, DataKind uses advanced algorithms, expert data scientists, and other assets to analyze big data. Unlike big data companies, DataKind’s primary goal isn’t to pump out profits, but instead to support and create positive social change.

So far the NGO is living up to its goal, having helped Amnesty International build a algorithm to predict human rights abuses, and assisting the Grameen Foundation with using big data an analyze the performance of its programs. DataKind has worked on a variety of other projects.

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A complete picture on DataKind’s financing isn’t available. We know the NGO recently thanked supporters for raising $50,000 dollars in donations, and given the nascent organization’s already stellar track record, it’s a safe bet that they’ll gather more resources quickly.

The founder and executive director of DataKind is Jake Porway, who holds a PhD in statistics from UCLA. Cofounder and Chief of Staff Craig Barowsky brings industry experience to the table, having spent six years working for Oddcast. The rest of the organization’s staff is filled out with non-profit specialists, data scientists, programmers, and a wide range of talents.

DataKind is headquartered in New York City, and has “chapters” in Bangalore, Dublin, San Francisco, Singapore, the UK and Washington DC.

By Brian Brinker

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