Supporting a question-centered approach for
working with data that leads to doing
Our core approach
We focus on questions so we move away from data for the sake of data. Data isn’t the goal, action with data is.Developing good questions is a process that requires skill and precision. We've designed a simple, effective method to help socially-driven organisations prioritise questions that lead to actionable insights. Our approach ensures that the questions align with your strategy and fall within the 'Goldilocks' level - not too granular and not too abstract.
Data for Action offers comprehensive support tailored for socially-driven organisations through:1. Training: Tailored programmes for individuals and peer groups;
2. Direct consultancy: Expert guidance on data strategy, approaches, impact, culture, analysis, and full end-to-end data projects;
3. Research: Research projects to understand and improve the data ecosystem for social purpose;
4. Resources: Open-source tools and knowledge sharing to improve the data commons and adoption of the Data for Action approach.
Open by Default: We advocate for making resources, information, tools and data openly available by default, rather than keeping it hidden or restricted. We need to have a good reason NOT to make it open. We believe in contributing to the commons because we think transparency helps better decision making and improves what we (all) do.Be positive, proactive and purposeful: We are interested in purpose over sectors, and relationships over skill sets. We aim to make a positive difference. We identify what is needed next, for whom and in what circumstances, and then get things done. We will instigate new ideas when we see a need.Approach over outputs: We believe in focusing on the process and approach used to achieve a goal, rather than fixating on the end result or output. We are always learning, experimenting and developing what we do. We don’t have all the answers. We are happy to have our assumptions challenged and to change course.Connect and join up: We aim for our work to connect into and across the wider ecosystem to break down silos. Human relationships are vital so we connect people and ideas around purpose.Reuse, repurpose, reimagine: We encourage the use of existing resources where possible, building upon them rather than creating new ones by default. For us this can mean using open-source software, repurposing existing data, or building upon existing ideas and projects. We encourage others to reuse and repurpose our work through Creative Commons licences.No bullshit: This means in the language we use, the relationships we hold and the work we do. Honesty, transparency and constructive challenge are at the heart of our approach.Different views, better work: We think that everyone's contributions are vital to good work. We believe that we should involve people with differing skills, job titles and perspectives.Focus on sustainability: We will always make decisions on where we spend money and who we work with based on positive contributions to sustainability in all its forms. We will always think about how best to sustain the work for the commons, even if that means giving it away.
Who we are
Hello. I'm Tom French.I have over a decade of experience working with and for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises, both as an ‘on-the-ground’ worker but also as a researcher, data analyst and evaluator.As a freelancer, I support people to develop data, insight and questioning strategies in a practical, open way. I work with not for profit and public sector organisations to take simple steps towards using insight better so that they can tell their story clearly with evidence of impact as well as inform future delivery.I set up and coordinate Sheffield Data for Good.I'm also a musician.
Hello I'm the other Tom.I have over a decade of experience working in and with charities, social enterprise and community business.I also run The Good Ship which focuses on digital and design support.I've worked within national infrastructure, led charities, founded and secured investment for successful community enterprises.I'm a charity trustee, a school governor and an award winning social entrepreneur.When not working I like running in the mountains and eating pizza.
We have a number of free-to-use resources for you to try and adapt. These have been designed to support people who would like to embed the Data for Action approach within their organisation or with others.These resources are catalogued on our Notion page. Feel free to have a play and let us know how you get on. And if you need any support using them, give us a shout.