The Rise of Civil Analytics: How Big Data is About to Explode Policymaking As We Know It

“In the post-fact era of mistrustful populism here is a compelling case for governments to double down on evidence, Big Data and predictive analytics. Lenihan and Pitfield argue that “civil analytics” holds the alluring promise of delivering powerful cures for today’s most wicked policy problems. It is a promise of effective, value-for- money government that everyone should welcome.”

Giles Gherson
Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development + Growth Ontario

How Big Data is about to Explode Policymaking as We Know It is the first of a series of papers Canada 2020 will release on data and policymaking. In it, Tom Pitfield and Don Lenihan explain the shifts that will occur thanks to massive amounts of high quality data and a new capacity for data analytics. Using the right analytics tools, and involving the right leaders, could be considered an answer to the postfact politics that seem to be rising up all around us.
Civil Analytics, as Pitfield and Lenihan have defined the term, is a holistic approach to data, the tools that can be used to analyze it, and the various people who should be engaged to examine it. As agencies and individuals with various interests are included in the process of understanding the data and creating policies, they will feel a greater ownership over them, which results in easier adoption.
Pitfield and Lenihan have big things to say about history, technology and politics, and this essay should be of interest to anyone watching where policy is going and what big trends are on the horizon.
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