Facilitating Data Leadership through Peer Learning

As civil society moves to increasingly data-centric and data-driven modes of doing work and making change, we face new challenges in stewarding and governing the assets that underlie and power those efforts.

New types of leaders are emerging to meet these challenges, but few resources are available to inform governance, stewardship and long-term responsible leadership in data-centric missions and ventures.

Aspiration, Digital Public, and Fenris are excited to announce the Data Leadership Cohort (DLC), an opportunity for these new leaders to meet, learn, and build connections with each other.

The first-ever Data Leadership Cohort is designed to provide an opportunity for emerging data leaders to meet, learn, and build connections with each other as they work through challenges and opportunities in governing data resources, designing data-intensive platforms, and procuring data systems.

The DLC is a small-group format for a practice-oriented peer learning group of 7 individuals representing a range of organizations focused on education, social services and movement building. Over the course of 8 weeks, the group is prototyping structures and processes for effective data governance by workshopping each other’s real-world cases.

This initial cohort launched in early May. If the first cohort is successful, and based on level of interest, we may consider additional cohorts. We will also provide other ways to engage and to share insights and learnings from the DLC.

Requests to participate are now closed, and we welcome you to let us know if you are interested in exploring future cohorts.

You can sign up to stay informed about the Data Leadership Program.

Who we are hoping to work with in our Data Leadership program

We welcome expressions of interest from anyone for whom one or more of the following questions apply and resonate:

  • Do you have direct oversight or management responsibility for large, sensitive or complicated data resources?
  • Are you trying to design a digital platform, digitally transform a public service, or balance complex interests in managing the use of data?
  • Are you wrestling with a complicated data governance issue, addressing threats and challenges, and/or working to establish equitable and forward-looking practices for stewarding your data assets?
  • Would you value an opportunity to develop skills and practices that can build your confidence and your capacity to support your partners?
  • Do you want to speak and learn from others facing similar or related challenges?

Many people with complementary skills and experience are facing these same challenges, and we think that we can help each other.

Through participating, participants will gain a deeper understanding of data governance in a practical sense and get help, expertise, and support from a group of similarly situated practitioners.

We are mindful of the privilege afforded to those who work with digital tools and have decision authority over digital information. The DLC is striving to manifest a diverse and equitable cohort by prioritizing projects and participants who have strong potential to positively impact front-line and marginalized communities, toward advancing the agency of rightsholders in digital and data-centric systems.

Who we are not looking to work with at this time: We may broaden the DLC in the future to include researchers, intermediaries and other stakeholders, but in this phase we are seeking participation from directly responsible parties.

The DLC Program

The Data Leadership Cohort brings together Aspiration’s field-leading and tested frameworks for peer learning, Digital Public’s expertise in public interest data governance, and practical expertise from Fenris for integrating these ideas into team, process and product.

The first cohort will consist of 12 virtual sessions of 90-minute each. Sessions will be calendared once the range of participant time zones is known. Although this cohort will be in English, we encourage expression of interest in other languages to inform design of future cohorts.

There is no fee to participate.

About the Organizers

Aspiration connects nonprofit organizations, free and open source projects, philanthropic funders and activists with strategic frameworks, technology solutions, and data skills that help them realize their missions.

Digital Public is a public interest data governance firm. We help communities, companies, and institutions realize rights in, against, and through digital systems.

Fenris supports teams developing responsible data systems for public benefit through collaborative co-design of product strategy, equitable data governance, and targeted technical assistance.

Gunner and the Aspiration team have been an incredible inspiration and resource for us at OpenNews. From facilitating at events like MozFest, we learned about inclusive, engaging, collaborative event design that has shaped our own event SRCCON and influenced the community we serve in journalism.

Erika Owens, OpenNews
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