Data is all around us and available 24/7. Weather forecasts, daily step counts, AirBnB reviews, distance to the nearest fast-food restaurant, suggestions on what to purchase on Amazon. More and more, the decisions we make are (or could be!) based on data from various sources. With the ever-increasing use of mobile devices and wearable technology, and the information collected about our online activities, the volume of data about all of us has increased dramatically in recent years. According to 2018 Forbes article, 90 percent of the world’s data was created in the two years prior; guaranteed the pandemic has increased this claim dramatically.
Consequently, the ability to gather, read, understand, create, and communicate with data is essential if you want to thrive and survive in the 21st century. These essential skills are commonly referred to as data literacy.
But what does this have to do with parks and recreation?
Public-sector organizations (including parks and recreation) are discovering the power of data in driving better decision making, better managing their employees, designing better programs, and delivering more responsive services to citizens. Harnessing the power of data is about focusing resources and attention on things that really matter, and on the actions that will make a difference.
Whether it’s creating a picture of people not visiting your facilities but should be, measuring your social benefit to your community, or creating equitable and inclusive programming to reflect the diversity in your community, data can create meaningful insights to motivate and guide our organizations, our people, and our communities.
This presentation will review some current and emerging data sources, some useful analytical tools, and some additional tips to help recreation professionals make better decisions. The presentation will also assist session participants to understand where they (and their organizations) are in their data literacy journey and offer some resources to help them on their journey.
About Ron and Mike
Ron is an enthusiastic advocate of evidence-based decision making in the public and not for profit sectors. For more than 25 years Ron has been helping clients use data and analytics to create meaning insights that result in better decision making. He has held several leadership roles, most recently as the Research and Analytics Lead at City of Calgary Recreation. He is currently an Associate with RC Strategies, a leading recreation consulting firm, and the Technical Director at ActiveXchange, a start-up analytics firm that specializes in helping sport and recreation agencies create actionable insights using advanced analytics.
Mike has been consulting in the recreation and parks sector for over 20 years. He is the managing partner of RC Strategies as well as the North American Chair of ActiveXchange. Mike is also the current chair the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. Throughout his career Mike has helped advance the recreation and parks agenda at a local, provincial/territorial and national level. Early on, Mike realized that the sector needs to do better at collecting quality data and using it in more meaningful ways. This session is meant to continue (or start!) that journey for participants.