Data-Driven Strategy in the Social Sector

Presented by:

Jon Sotsky, Director, Strategy and Assessment, Knight Foundation

Sean Gourley, CTO, Quid

Jeffrey Bladt, Chief Data Officer,

Moderated By:

Eric Nee, Managing Editor, Stanford Social Innovation Review

Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Time: 11:00am–12 noon PST, 2:00pm–3:00pm EST

New technologies and data applications are increasingly giving rise to innovative approaches to research in the social sector, allowing organizations to break out of traditional models of knowledge gathering. Applying big data to their research, organizations can better inform their decision-making, understand the fields in which they work, and achieve the greatest impact. Many organizations, however, have been slow to integrate such techniques into their work.

Join Jon Sotsky, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and Sean Gourley, Quid, (Knight Foundation’s data analytics firm), as they discuss new ways to help people engage around complex issues and research, applying breakthrough techniques in data mapping and visualization. Using their recent collaboration on the report, The Emergence of Civic Tech: Investments in a Growing Field, as a basis, they'll provide insights on integrating data-driven models into social sector research and the trend toward open sharing of data and ideas as a driver of success.

This webinar is for strategy and assessment teams, research and communication professionals, and anyone at foundations, nonprofits, and social enterprises focused on highlighting the impact of their work. Webinar registrants will have the opportunity to ask Sotsky and Gourley questions during the last 20 minutes of the webinar, which will be moderated by Eric Nee, Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Thanks to the generosity of Knight Foundation and Quid, this webinar is complimentary.

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Speaker Biographies:

Jonathan Sotsky, Director of Strategy and Assessment, joined Knight Foundation in November 2010 as the Strategic Assessment Officer. Sotsky manages grant evaluation projects and learning initiatives across the foundation, applying insights drawn from programmatic impact to support ongoing foundation strategy. Previously, Sotsky worked as a consultant at Mission Measurement, a social sector strategy and impact measurement firm. In this capacity, he worked with several Fortune 500 clients and national foundations to promote data-driven strategies for managing their philanthropic investments and also led education engagements focused on analyzing the impact of national charter school networks. Before that, Sotsky was a financial management consultant in the media and communications practice at IBM. Sotsky graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a bachelor’s degree in applied economics and management.

Sean Gourley is the co-founder and CTO of Quid Inc., based in San Francisco, and a physicist, decathlete, political advisor, and TED fellow. He is originally from New Zealand, where he ran for national elected office and helped start New Zealand's first nanotech company. Gourley studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, where he received a PhD for his research on the mathematical patterns that underlie modern war. This research has taken him all over the world, from the Pentagon to the United Nations and Iraq. Previously, Gourley worked at NASA on self-repairing nano-circuits and is a two-time New Zealand track and field champion.

Jeffrey Bladt is chief data officer at He directs quantitative and qualitative research and evangelizes for data-informed decision making. Each year Bladt oversees the National Survey on Young People and Volunteering and has done targeted research into youth perceptions of bullying and gun policy. Bladt has an A.B. and MPP from the University of Chicago, where he studied economics and public policy. He has presented on data strategy at New York University, Harvard Graduate School of Education, and The Ad Council, as well as other locations, and has published in the Chicago Policy Review and Harvard Business Review.

Eric Nee is the managing editor of Stanford Social Innovation Review, published by the Center of Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University, and co-host of the Social Innovation Conversations podcast channel. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the publishing industry, most of it covering the high-tech industry. Before joining Stanford, Nee was a senior writer for Fortune magazine in the Palo Alto, Calif., bureau. He also helped Time Inc. launch eCompany Now (where he was executive editor), which later merged with Business 2.0. Before joining Fortune, Nee launched Forbes magazine’s Silicon Valley bureau, where he was bureau manager. He also served as editor-in-chief of Upside magazine for close to five years.

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