Empowering leaders to develop a data re-use strategy for solving public problems
“This course was an incredible opportunity to learn from experienced peers, receive mentorship from academic
and industry experts, and set strategy for a post-pandemic world, where public institutions need to set
priorities and answer questions with data.”
-- Christine Keung, Former Chief Data Officer, Mayor’s Office on Technology and Innovation,
City of San Jose
The biggest opportunities and challenges of the data age lay not only in preventing misuse of data, but also
in facilitating its re-use for the public interest. Data collaboration is hard, developing ethical processes
standards for data use is imperative, and human adoption of data-driven practices is slow-moving.
in addressing all these challenges: data stewards.
Are you searching for ways to access data to drive impact? Or do you manage data that you believe could be
more powerful if shared?
The GovLab and Microsoft, as a part of the Open Data
Policy Lab, offer a variety of courses as a part of the Data
Stewards Academy. Course participants come from diverse industries across the private, public, nonprofit and
academic sectors and from geographic regions around the world.
The Executive Education Course is an eight-week course for leaders in their field to learn, network and receive
coaching to develop a data re-use strategy. The course is free, and participants are selected based on the
strength of their applications and qualifications. This is a competitive opportunity for a limited 20 slots
available in each course offering.
At the end of the experience, all course graduates will be invited to join the Data Stewards Academy’s community
of alumni via the Data Stewards Society, an exclusive and esteemed network of data stewards around the world.
Data Stewards Society provides opportunities for networking, discussion on emerging trends and guest speakers
alumni to engage on a monthly basis.
All courses are virtual, held in English and gather twice a week for two and a half hours at a time on Tuesdays
and Thursdays between the hours of 9am-12pm in the Eastern Time Zone unless otherwise specified.
The Data Stewards Academy typically offers a few courses per year. The best way to stay informed about courses
application opportunities is to join the Data Stewards Network newsletter by signing up here:
2023 Spring Executive Education Course: Data Re-Use in Cities
Applications are currently open for a Data
Stewards Academy Executive Education course focused on data re-use in
cities. We are looking for applicants who work in the private, public, nonprofit and academic sectors interested
in or actively working on data re-use in cities. Applications are due by April 5 at 11:59pm EST. Submit your
The course will run from April 24 through June 29th, with two one-week breaks in between.
Program Learning Goals
Empower you to solve public problems through systemic, sustainable, and responsible data reuse
Provide you with a powerful toolkit to draft a data reuse strategy that seeks to address public needs
Introduce the latest tools and technologies for use in designing, implementing and managing policies and
Enable you to pursue more purposeful, demand-driven partnerships and collaborations with a broad and
inter-sectoral group of actors
Guide you on the best ways to mitigate risks and promote responsible data practices
Ensure you can translate data into insights and insights into meaningful action
To ensure the successful progression into the third wave of open data where data is made available for reuse in
a collaborative and responsible manner, it is necessary to broaden our range of skills and expertise in the
realm of data. We need new and innovative ways to make data accessible to solve real-world problems and drive
progress. This requires a shift from simply making data available to finding ways to connect data supply with
demand in a meaningful way.
The Data Stewards Academy Executive Education course will help data stewards—responsible data leaders in the
public, private sector, nonprofit or academic sector—develop an end-to-end data re-use strategy to solve public
problems. Noting the ways data resources can inform their day-to-day and strategic decision-making, we engage
with participants on ways they can re-use data to pursue goals in the public’s interests, and improve how they
operate. By working differently—using agile methods and data analytics–data stewards can further open data and
reduce data access inequities in ways that advance their institution’s goals.
When seeking to innovate and establish new practices, it helps to learn and connect with those who have done it
before. As part of this course, participants will have the opportunity to visit leading organizations and meet
existing data stewards to learn from their approach to data re-use. Previous cohorts had the chance to learn
from teams at Microsoft, Mastercard, DIGI Taiwan, Sage Bionetworks, Telefonica, and LinkedIn to name a few.
The learning modules are as follows:
In this introductory session, we review the evolution of data and data re-use, looking at how data has been
used to solve public problems. Through the framework of the three waves of open data, participants will
about how views of data use and re-use have changed over time, the impact data re-use has made, and major
challenges facing the field.
Following a discussion of the history of the open data movement, we will discuss current approaches to
re-use around the world. We will then shift to the failures of current approaches and the need of current
approaches and the need to shift from ad hoc engagements to more systematic, sustainable, and responsible
models. We will introduce the role of a data steward, and how they can promote the responsible, systematic
sustainable re-use of data.
After providing the conceptual framework for discussion, we will discuss the first step in a data re-use
project: understanding the problem an organization intends to solve and for whom; and how that translates
questions data can answer. Participants will learn approaches for quickly researching complex problems,
assessing public interest in identified problems, and segmenting these potential stakeholders according to
interests and needs. Using experiences from The GovLab’s 100 Questions Initiative, this session will also
describe participatory problem definition, topic mapping and how to formulate effective research questions.
Data re-use requires both relevant data resources and technical capacity. This session will teach
participants how to assess both. In the first part of the session, we will explain how participants can find
useful data in their organization and outside it. Participants will learn how to conduct data audits, map
location of relevant assets among partner organizations (e.g. companies, nonprofits, and academia), and make
use of open data platforms. In the latter part of the session, participants will learn the value of internal
capacity reviews and receive recommendations on how they can build internal support for data projects. These
explanations will be informed by real-world examples.
Before we bring demand and supply together, it can be helpful to understand the value proposition behind
sharing. This session includes information on the societal and business cases underlying data re-use, as
as the latent risks that exist in the data lifecycle. We will explore tools that can help you measure the
costs and benefits of your data re-use project, as well as methods to avoid misusing data. We will also
briefly look at the environmental footprint and other externalities of data initiatives.
Building off of our previous sessions focused on demand and supply, we look at how to bring the two sides
together. This session will introduce you to different models of data collaboration and how to identify a
fit-for-purpose collaborative model for your project. We will also look at the technical aspects of
a data collaborative, including existing governance frameworks and the role of data-sharing agreements, as
well as the technological infrastructure needed to build a sustainable collaborative.
Once you’ve established your data collaborative, it is important to understand its impact on the challenge
you initially sought to address and the ecosystem as a whole. This session looks at the use of logic models
measure impact. For a data steward, impact measurement can play a big role in ensuring the sustainability of
your project in the form of investment and organizational buy-in.
Data re-use projects can address public problems but their potential is best realized when they can be
maintained in the long term. As such, organizations need to make changes in how they operate, ensuring they
are positioned to take advantage of future cross-sector data collaborations. In this session, we will
demonstrate that systematic, sustainable, and responsible data re-use can be best realized through the
creation of a data steward position within an organization. The session will discuss how this role can
coordinate efforts investigating where relevant data is, who has it, who needs it, and how it can best be
to tackle the problem. It will also discuss the role of the data steward in assessing human infrastructure,
telling organizations what their gaps are and who they need to collaborate with and the priority they should
assign to these relationships.
The Executive Education course will be taught in an interactive, online group setting. All session are taught
by Open Data Policy Lab staff and Guest Faculty with both academic and real world experience. The GovLab team is
committed to making adjustments to meet the needs of course participants within reason. Details about the course
can be found below and in the FAQs.
Time Commitment: This course consists of two and a half hour classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays
hours per week) over the course of eight weeks. There are two scheduled one week breaks for a total ten week
span for the program. All participants are expected to be active participants in the course to
support peer learning and maximize the experience with guest faculty and virtual site visits.
Timing: Courses will take place between 9am-12pm in the Eastern Time Zone unless otherwise
Synchronous vs Asynchronous: All courses take place live and course participants are expected to be
able to attend all live courses. Optional readings and mandatory assignments and assignment coaching will
Assignments: Assignments will be shared weekly and are meant to further course participants’
in the development of their data re-use strategy. Assignments are not expected to take more than one hour
weekly to complete.
Software Logistics: Courses will all take place over Zoom, documents and resources will be shared
PDFs or Google Documents and course collaboration will take place over Slack.
Language: The course and all affiliated programming take place in English; course participants are
expected to speak and write in English and have proficiency enough to participate in the courses and engage
“With the Data Stewards Executive Program, I was able to bootstrap our data-sharing project into a more
real-world solution to tackle collaboration among organizations.”
-- Jorge Alvarado, Chief Technology Officer at Swisscom Blockchain
Application Process and Costs
Applications are currently open for a Data Stewards Academy Executive Education course focused on data
re-use in cities! Applications are due by April 5 at 11:59pm EST. Submit your application here! Selected
applicants will be notified by April 17, 2023. The course will run from April 24 to June 29 with two one week breaks.
Criteria for Participation:
Applicants must apply and participate in the course in a professional capacity;
Participation is at the individual level (not for teams);
Applicants must be working professionals holding a managerial or other senior role;
Course participants must be prepared to submit assignments for review, as such assignments are necessary
to develop a data collaboration and re-use strategy during the course;
Individuals must have capacity to attend all sessions in the 8-week course; courses take place virtually
between 9am–12pm Eastern Time Zone Tuesdays and Thursdays; and
The course and all affiliated programming take place in English; course participants are expected to
speak and write in English and have proficiency enough to participate in the courses and engage with
The Data Stewards Academy currently offers a few Data Stewards Academy Course offerings per year. The best
way to stay informed about course application opportunities is to sign-up for our Data Stewards Network
Letter of Support from a representative in your organization
Country & Timezone
How does your current position and mandate relate to this course? 300 word limit
Tell us what you can about the data re-use strategy you are looking to develop over the course of the
executive program; we recognize this may only be an idea at this time but welcome any thoughts and details
you can provide. 300 word limit
How does your current work relate to work either in the city in which you reside or another city
(cities)? 300 word limit
This is a free course thanks to the Open Data Policy Lab’s support by Microsoft. While the program is free,
we do limit the course participation to a maximum of twenty participants to maintain a high-quality
experience for everyone involved and to foster intimate peer to peer learning via discussion.
“I highly recommend the Data Stewardship Executive Education course. The lectures, the speakers and the visits
different Data Offices were exceptionally well curated. It is also a great opportunity for networking and
discussing with peer about problems and challenges that all Data Stewards face in our daily work.”
-- Juliana Outes Velarde, Data Steward, Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab), Oxford
Data Stewards Academy guest faculty are experts in their fields and based in organizations around
the world. Depending on the thematic focus of a Data Stewards Academy course, different guest faculty will be
asked to present and speak with course participants. If you are interested in being considered as guest
faculty for a future course, please contact [email protected]
“As the saying goes, ‘In a world befogged by superficiality, moments of clarity are few and far between.’ The
executive data stewardship course by GovLab offers that rare and special light bulb moment. The organization of
the course was excellent and choice of facilitators exceptional. In just a few weeks, we gained knowledge and
practical skills and a deeper meaning and understanding of what data stewardship is and learnt how as leaders we
can develop data re-use strategies to solve public problems.”
-- Eva Muluve, Research Fellow, Population Council —Kenya
The Data Stewards Academy has offered a diverse array of courses thus far, including Executive Education programs that are tailored to different global regions to account for cultural differences.
Additionally, the Academy has run a City Incubator program specifically designed for data stewards working in municipal governments. We have also collaborated with organizations to create customized courses for specific communities, employees, and networks.
If you are looking to create a unique Data Stewards course for your community, we would be happy to assist you. Please contact [email protected]
Current and prior partners for Data Stewards Academy courses include: