NEXT supports projects that are transformational, inspirational and business-like. Part of “business-like” is using evidence to support actions and decision-making. “Big data” is widening the breadth of that evidence, and technology is making it potentially much more widely available. NEXT supports initiatives that create and use that data responsibly for better decision making.

James Mansell, a member of the New Zealand Data Futures Forum, produced a report to the New Zealand Productivity Commission last year called “Handing Back the Social Commons”, outlining the potentially transformative influence big data can have on effectiveness and innovation within the social sector. In May James discussed this potential with NEXT’s education initiatives and associates. We believe his thinking can be just as transformative in the education and environment sectors as in social sectors. So we are pleased to present here three introductions to James’ work to widen the audience:

  1. A two page story of Marc E Smith, an individual for whom life might have turned out very differently if we had been able to use all the data available about him earlier in his life;  
  2. A two page summary of James’ report, prepared by Marion Heppner, a Business Development Executive who builds partnerships across the for-profit, for-cause and state sectors, in collaboration with James  
  3. James’ original report to the Productivity Commission 

We hope the reports inform and interest you and perhaps create an opportunity to apply the thinking in your spheres of activity. 

Bill Kermode, CEO NEXT Foundation