It is no secret that data science can help to solve the most complex and pressing challenges that face today’s business leaders. There is even a growing awareness of analytics’ potential to improve the ways in which governments around the world serve their citizens.
But what about everything else? We at Booz Allen understand that data science has the ability to help solve any problem; and as we look to expand our efforts to bring our expertise to social good initiatives, we wanted to share a handful of our favorite, unexpected uses of data science in recent history.
We hope this further inspires you to not only keep looking for answers, but also to ask questions you had never before considered as part of the possible:
Influencing global human rights policy
Through a partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, we developed the Early Warning Project – a predictive system using a wide range of public information to identify nations at-risk for widespread violence. This program can help governments around the world to save lives and is demonstrative of data science’s potential to inform international policy decisions.
Primates impact education policy in Uganda
Researchers from the Foundation for Environmental Conservatism leveraged analytics to discover truancy in Uganda was partly due to an increase in baboons, not a decrease in classrooms. Baboons are predatory to crops, and children were staying home from school to help protect their families’ land – an unexpected answer to a very serious question surrounding education policy reform in the region.
Mosquitoes, mobile phones and malaria
A team from the Harvard School of Public Health worked with Kenya’s largest mobile phone operator to analyze the de-identified usage records of 15 million consumers. The data provided a look into migration patterns within the nation and, when combined with malaria incidence information, was able to explain how the disease unexpectedly traveled around the country through human, not insect, carriers.
Are you as green as your neighbors?
Our BlackSheep app, created as part of a Department of Energy hackathon, integrates Zillow and public energy data to calculate a house’s estimated energy costs for potential buyers, providing a trusted, potential resource for real estate and sustainability audiences, alike.
—Written by Steve Mills