THINKING AND ACTING
BIGGER BY SCALING DATA
Scientists (and everyone else) now have easier access to vast amounts of data than ever before, but the data at hand isn’t always the data we need. Fortunately, it’s also never been easier to collect new data from anywhere at any scale. Tapping into this opportunity can make your pipedream projects a reality––and can do it faster than you realize.
The key to making this new world work for you is to know 1) what data you need, and 2) who can get it. The questions below can help you figure that out.
DEFINE YOUR DATA OPPORTUNITY
If you’re here at National Geographic, chances are you have a pretty good project design to start with. Chances also are that you’ve had to deal with some serious constraints on time, people power, and other resources. So to make a bigger move forward, start by taking a few steps back:
What was the question that first drove you into your chosen field?
What big-picture or game-changing answers do you think your field could provide for humanity?
What real-world information is needed to find those answers?
Where could that information be gathered?
What observations or physical samples could hold the information?
What is the simplest, most standardized form of collection that could provide the data?
How many data points or samples would you need?
DISCOVER YOUR DATA COLLECTORS
What currently hinders your ability to collect the data?
Who are the people with the skills or access to get around those hindrances?
How can you efficiently reach out to those communities to get them helping out?