Using Big Data for Social Good
August 27, 2014

This article originally appeared in Forbes.

Every day, thousands of Americans apply for new credit cards, loans, and mortgages. In the decision-making process, banks use one number to review a person’s financial history and assess their likelihood to pay off debt: a credit score. Similarly, other industries are striving to mimic this approach by using algorithm-based data to predict future outcomes in various settings. Enter Mission Measurement, the social impact consulting firm attempting to change the way corporations, government agencies, foundations, and non-profits invest in philanthropic causes by using data to forecast social impact program outcomes.

Mission Measurement CEO Jason Saul and the architect of Pandora ’s Music Genome Project, Nolan Gasser, have designed the Impact Genome Project, which seeks to assess philanthropic program outcomes based on the composition of a program’s design. The project was inspired by the work of Pandora and by the NIH’s Human Genome Project, the NIH project that mapped human genes to thoroughly understand the functionality of human genes and predict health outcomes.