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Griffith University's Place-Based Data Lab

Dr. Tom Verhelst,
Ms Linda O’Brien, Mr Malcolm Wolski

Griffith University

THE REGIONAL INNOVATION DATA LAB: Data is being collected at an increased pace with 90 percent of all current data created within the last 2 years.

New technologies in the IoT space are capable of creating an enormous amount of machine generated data. All this data holds a promise of a better world, where through the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence, insights can be created for the betterment of humankind. However most of this data is housed in data islands that are disconnected. There are great analytics tools for structured tabular data but analytics tools for exploring non-tabular data, such as messaging data, pictures, videos and a whole series of industry specific data are still nascent. The challenges of data volume, variety, velocity and veracity risks are drowning us in data while we are starving for insight. The goal of the Regional Innovation Data Lab (RIDL) is to improve the capabilities and performance of localities by using place-based data and contribute to the cultural mind-shift to use of data in decision- making processes towards community capacity building. RIDL’s role is to create platform tools that allow for this change to happen and facilitate collecting data to drive these platform technologies.

RIDL is a self-funded unit at Griffith University Logan Campus, a campus that blends Griffith’s research, teaching and engagement strengths into meaningful impact and influence within a specific community as a true example of a Civic University. Through engagement with government, business and the broader community, we put our academic knowledge, creativity and expertise to work, to develop innovations and solutions that make a positive difference within our community. RIDL is created to facilitate insight through data for policy makers, researchers, NGO’s and individuals and to inspire the next generation of data entrepreneurs. It provides easy access to a series of trusted data sources. We use multiple linked data sources to help policy makers make informed decisions and ideally prevent problems in our cities and regions before they happen.

USE CASES: Logan Together is a 10-year community movement that is changing the lives of kids and families in Logan for the better. RIDL provides place- based data that provides additional insight into the challenges within Logan and tracks the systemic change within the Logan Community. By using holistic place-based data sets we can identify and quantify secondary and tertiary effects of the Logan Together initiatives.

In collaboration with Griffith’s Policy Innovation Hub and our academic groups we use the lessons learned from Logan Together and the comprehensive data sets we have collected to provide insight into other communities around Australia. By leveraging multi parameters data sets that range from social service data, health data, financial data to education data (not an exhaustive list) we provide insight into communities and help regional cities and community organizations direct their energy and efforts more effectively. Through the Policy Innovation Hub, we are working together with local, state and federal government agencies to enable evidence-based policy making. Our place-based data sets can track changes in socio-economic parameters that are affected by |new policies. Together with our researchers and data scientists we apply algorithms to simulate and predict policy outcomes and provide local, state and federal policy makers with insights into optimal policy implementation.