The Emerging Power of Big Data: The Chicago Experience

June 17, 2014

By: Emerging Leaders Class of 2014

On June 17, 2014, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a report 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.

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 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.

Cochaired 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 John F. and Mary Manley, the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Foundation, and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.  

The Emerging Power of Big Data: The Chicago Experience

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