Episode 94: Does Your Data Have a Bias Problem?

April 18, 2019 Blackbaud, Inc.

It’s easy to think of data as something that’s entirely neutral, but like most things, data is open to interpretation. It can be affected by human choices and by human biases, and often social good organizations don’t realize that they are working with biased data that ultimately affects how they achieve their mission.

Today’s guests are Vanice Dunn, director of equity, and Lane Trisko, director of digital and data strategy at Provoc. Vanice and Lane talked with Roz Lemieux, director of Blackbaud Labs, about their work helping social good organizations identify and remove bias in their data, and how data bias ultimately contributes to institutional racism. Listen in to hear what they have to say about what data bias looks like, common mistakes to be aware of, and strategies for overcoming data bias.

Topics Discussed in This Episode:

  • What data bias is and how it presents
  • What it means to lead with an equity-first approach
  • How data bias contributes to inequity and institutional racism
  • Common issues that cause data bias
  • Strategies organizations can take to ensure their data is more equitable

Resources:

Lane Trisko

Vanice Dunn

Provoc

Quotes:

“I think that people have this misconception that if they approach with a data first approach or if they’re rooting their work in data that they’ve got it covered.” –Vanice Dunn

 “What you carry around as your own unconscious bias or your assumptions is going to find its way into those decisions.” –Lane Trisko

“Being more strategic and rooting out bias in the way that you allocate those resources that will be allocated regardless is in service of the mission that your nonprofit exists for.” –Vanice Dunn

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