New center to demystify data for legislators

In the next few weeks, both congressional lawmakers and the public will have a new online resource that aims to demystify data, FedScoop has learned.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is launching the ITIF Center for Data Innovation, with the goal to make data more accessible. The online center will strive to be the main destination for lawmakers searching for information on data, a topic many in Congress tend to shy away from because of its complexity.

“Our goal is to help people understand data, give people up-to-date news on how data is being used, and connect it to policy,” Daniel Castro, senior policy analyst at ITIF, told FedScoop. “There are so many areas in the economy where data can be used to improve it – areas that have yet to be tapped into — and we want to showcase that information.”

The Center for Data Innovation will feature a “Data Innovation 101” for policymakers, and look at which policies are driving data innovation domestically and internationally. The website will also have a library of resources on data innovation for policymakers. In addition, the center will serve as a resource for ITIF reports and blogs on the effect of data-driven innovation on economy and society.


To accompany the web portal, ITIF is also launching a weekly newsletter that will connect leaders in business and government with the latest information on big data, open data, data analytics, and data visualization.

“We want to separate out the marketing hype from the important trends and educate policymakers about the benefits and opportunities of data-driven innovation,” Castro said. “One way we will do this is by telling the stories of how data innovation is changing communities and industries around the world, and help policymakers understand how this transformation impacts the problems and solutions that they are working on.”

One of the first projects at the center will be sending new hire, Travis Korte, to participate in the Millennial Train Project. Korte’s project will highlight how data is changing communities across the U.S., creating connections between likeminded individuals involved in data innovation.

In January, ITIF hosted the first Data Innovation Day in D.C., which facilitated discussion of how to use data to improve society. This event proved to be the catalyst in creating the Center for Data Innovation, according to Castro.

ITIF will launch the Center for Data Innovation “in the next few weeks,” Castro said.

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