Making Data Useful:  Improving your life, community, and world

Increasingly we live in a world alive with sensors and data.  The big data, sensor networks and transparency movements have left us with a supply-side glut of potential useful free data that is lying fallow.  How can we use this to improve life, local community and the world at large?

People and devices collect and share data both passively-monitoring environmental change, and actively-explicitly capturing and sharing information, combining data with other information and using in unexpected ways.  Today, we are only at the beginning discovering how to put this data to work to improve our lives and the world around us. 

How might data, particularly information that makes civic society run – bus schedules, election cycles, political information, first-hand reporting, volunteer logistics, sporting and media events – make for a better and more community oriented place to live?

How might this data help us understand the past, the present and predict the future with more precision, and how might an individual’s personal data be used to help filter and make information more relevant in different contexts or situations.

What are key problems this data can be used to help solve, what new troubles can we anticipate it creates?

Read the blog post here!


CriticsDurrell BishopTony Dunne, Bill Buxton

Invited Schools & Projects

New York University, Interactive Telecommunications Program, NY, NY
Project:  Mine - see what data-miners see about you & control your external impression
Professor:   Clay Shirky
Microsoft Liaisons:  Robert Dietz, Jenny Rodenhouse

Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), Media Innovation Lab; Herzliya, Israel
Project:  Clashers - music discovery via people watching
Professor:  Oren Zuckerman, Noa Morag
Microsoft Liaison: Ruth Kikin-Gil, Adi Diamant

Carnegie Mellon University, Department of Design; Pittsburg, USA
Project:  Seedlinks - system for local community engagement
CMU: Peter Scupelli, Bruce Hanington
Microsoft Liaisons: Yong Rhee

UCLA, Design Media Arts, Los Angeles, California
Professor:  Christian Moeller, Casey Reas, Su Hyun Kim
Microsoft Liaisons:  Jim Faris, Don Coyner

University of Washington, Interactive Design Program;  Seattle, USA
Project:  Community Slate – Improving public participation in urban planning
Professor:  Axel Roesler
Microsoft Liaison: Nathan Auer, Corrina Black, March Rogers

Technische Universiteit (TU) Eindhoven, Industrial Design Department,  Netherlands
Project: AMP, Illuminating social data in physical space
Professor: J.H. Berry Eggen
Microsoft Liaison:  Jakob Nielsen, Anton Andrews

National Institute of Design (NID);   Ahmedabad , India
Project:  PoliCiti - -improving trust between the local police and citizens
Professors:  Rupeshkumar Ishwarlal Vyas, Dr. Bibhudutta Baral
Microsoft Liaisons: Deepak Menon, Nithin Ismail, Surya Vanka

Northumbria, School of Design, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Project:  Living Memory – embedding data in a traditional makers mark
Professor: Trevor Duncan
Microsoft Liaisons: Richard Banks, Tim Regan, Alex Taylor

Universidad Iberoamericana, Design Department; Mexico City, Mexico
Project:  Greenery – an urban agriculture system
Professors: Jorje Meza Aguilar, Lachlan Steward
Microsoft Liaisons: Tobias Kinnebrew, Andres Monroy Hernandes, Don Coyner