What Data Does – Debugging Real-life Procedures

Shortly before this video of a FutureLaw 2016 discussion was posted, I got an email why should we collect data in legal services. Jenny Montoya-Tansey, from Code for America, does a good job of explaining around the 18 minute mark.

She explains an app that helps people apply for food stamps, which creates data showing the funnel of applications, and where people drop out.  The biggest value of the data collection isn’t anything related to high technology; instead, the value is seeing how the system works and finding the problem areas.  The data allows the agencies to debug their real-life procedures of how they serve citizens.

For me, this explanation resonates with what we learned from the Kirwin Institute about implicit bias and systems thinking at our recent Ohio Legal Services Racial Equality Summit.  It also demonstrates how a simple, practical answer can be more effective than elaborate descriptions of potential.  In that spirit, I’ll save more discussion about both of those topics forother posts.

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