Chicago Council Report Outlines Big Data Strategies to Improve City Services

June 17, 2014
June 17, 2014 CHICAGO - The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a report (PDF) today from its Emerging Leaders Class of 2014 on the power of big data to improve the lives of Chicagoans and residents of other global cities. Using Chicago as a model, the report outlines big data strategies for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of cities around the world.

“Not all cities are equipped with the talent, resources or political will to analyze massive amounts of data and make them available to the public,” said Ambassador Ivo H. Daalder, president of The Chicago Council on Global Affairs. “Yet if a city is going to stay globally competitive and attract the best talent, it will have to make big data part of its mental and physical infrastructure. Chicago can become a global leader in this area.”

In 2013, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed a comprehensive plan for employing technology to improve the local economy and the quality of city services. The plan created a cabinet level position to identify data already being generated, integrate those data into city operations and share data more broadly with constituents.

The group of 22 Emerging Leaders spent a year analyzing Chicago’s use of big data in four sectors:

Energy: Enabling smart, distributed systems to create a more energy efficient city
Transportation: Improving the flow of people and goods through monitoring and prediction
Education: Adapting and customizing solutions to improve education outcomes
Public safety: Integrating data analytics to improve crime prevention and enforcement

The report (PDF) also outlines a number of barriers and concerns in the use of big data in each sector, ranging from data interoperability and security to cost and privacy issues. The Emerging Leaders identified a number of pillars of success based upon the Chicago experience that can help cities around the world develop big data strategies.

Representatives of the Emerging Leaders Class of 2014 will present their report, The Emerging Power of Big Data: The Chicago Experience (PDF), at a Chicago Council public event this evening. Lincoln Ellis, managing director and senior strategist for Green Square Capital, LLC; Caralynn Nowinski MD, executive director and COO of UI LABS; Nirav Shah MD, a Sidley Austin LLP associate; and Ted Souder, head of industry-retail for Google, Inc., will present with John Livingston, a director of McKinsey & Company. The program begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Renaissance Blackstone Hotel, 636 South Michigan Avenue.

Co-chaired by Chicago Council Vice Chairs John F. Manley and Shirley Welsh Ryan, The Chicago Council’s Emerging Leaders Program assembles a class drawn from the best and the brightest emerging leaders from across business, civic, government and academic sectors from the Chicagoland area. Support for the program is generously provided by Manley, Ryan and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.