New Jersey barely made it into the top half of the states doing a good job encouraging and enabling data-driven innovation, according to a new report.
“The Best States for Data Innovation,” a report issued last Friday by the nonpartisan Center for Data Innovation, based in Washington, D.C., ranked New Jersey 23rd based on 25 indicators related to data and new technology availability and usage, as well as the digital infrastructure, technology-related education, and open data-related jobs and companies.
Because data, computers and technology are significant drivers of society and the economy, policymakers should be supporting and investing resources to make their states leaders in data-driven innovation, the report contends. This includes the development and growth of data-driven companies, as well as the use of data to address important priorities, such as improving healthcare, reducing crime, developing sustainable communities, and improving schools.
Long-term implications of today’s decisions
“Decisions that policymakers make today to encourage data-driven innovation will have long-term implications for states’ future growth and their residents’ quality of life,” said Daniel Castro, director of the DCI and lead author of the report. “Early adopters will benefit immediately from using data to make headway in addressing social challenges from energy efficiency to affordable healthcare. By positioning themselves at the forefront of data innovation, states will also be able to grow and attract the right kinds of companies to become hubs of the data economy.”
The center’s analysis is the first to assess state’s relative strength in three categories critical to encouraging and enabling data-driven innovation. It looks at: data, including the extent to which key datasets are available; technology, including the availability of broadband internet and other key digital infrastructure; and the number of open data companies in the state and the size of the data science community.
New Jersey is among the best states in some of the areas the center considers important, and among the worst in others:
New Jersey also got mixed marks for its public data. The highest ranking, ninth, was for legislative data, while the lowest, 29th, was for government finance data, with a ranking of 12th for education data. As for access to government data, New Jersey ranked only 31st, with the report relying heavily on the Center for Public Integrity’s 2015 Corruption Risk Index, on which New Jersey had received a grade of D.
The five top-ranked states — Massachusetts, Washington, Maryland, California, and Delaware — are thriving hubs of data-driven innovation, support STEM in public schools, invest in e-government, implement robust open-data policies, and promote the deployment of health information technology.
The CDI called on state policymakers to encourage and enable data-driven innovation by ensuring that high-value datasets are publicly available, key digital infrastructure is widely deployed, and necessary human capital and business resources are in place.
“While the data economy is rapidly maturing, these are still early days,” said Castro. “Policymakers who want to maximize their state’s potential to leverage data for social and economic good should continue investing now in the data, technology, and people necessary for data-driven innovation to flourish.”
It made a number of recommendations that states should take to become better data innovators, including:
|CategoryFirstname||Ranking (of 50 states)|
|Ensuring data is available for use||29|
|Government Financial Data||29|
|Health-care Price Transparency||8|
|Energy Usage Data||8|
|Building Energey Efficient Data||22|
|Public Access to Government Info||31|
|Anti-SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) Laws||32|
|Enabline Key Technology Platforms||37|
|Transit Information Systems||3|
|Electronuc Health Records||50|
|Internet of Things: Consumer Devices||32|
|Developing Human and Business Capital||9|
|Computer Science and Statistics AP Tests||2|
|Software Service Jobs||4|
|Data Science Job Listings||7|
|Open Data 500 Companies||10|
|Information and Data-Processing Sector||12|
|Federal Funding for Data Science R&D||16|
|Data Science Community||16|