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Foundations of Data-Driven Decision Making

Understand the characteristics and applications of data sets in order to communicate effectively with your teams and develop business strategies.

  • Date

    June 6, 2024

  • Time

    11:00 AM – 2:30 PM ET

  • Length

    4 consecutive Thursdays

  • Format


  • Cost


  • Registration Deadline

    May 29, 2024

What You'll Learn

Data literacy has become an essential skill for professionals in all fields, and data-driven decision making is the key to success for many companies and organizations.  Understanding how to use and apply the right data sets can help you make better decisions for your organization and communicate more effectively with your team.

Our intensive foundational program will give you the tools and knowledge that enable you to analyze and leverage data for your organizational strategy, from smart usage of publicly available sources to data visualization techniques that bring numbers to life.

Managers and aspiring leaders who need to improve their technical literacy, understand how data can be applied to actionable operational insights, and pitch their data-driven projects will find what they need in this program. Informative lectures, productive discussion, relevant case studies, and interactive exercises help you absorb and retain the information you need to thrive in today’s data-centric environment. The program culminates with a small group project that allows participants to apply frameworks learned and receive peer feedback.

Program Benefits

  • Learn how to apply data to forecasting, marketing, product development, business intelligence, and other core strategic goals.
  • Understand core concepts related to data for decision making such as categories of data, standards, sources, collection, management, and applications.
  • Identify opportunities to leverage data for your organization and identify the most valuable data types and data sets.
  • Communicate effectively with senior management to apply data-driven strategies within a department.
  • Earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard Division of Continuing Education

Topics Covered

  • Types of data and sources to make effective decisions at different organizational levels
  • How organizations leverage data to improve their operations and develop new products and services
  • Relevant, high-value sources for government, business, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) datasets
  • How to use customer segments and personas to identify opportunities for data-driven decision making
  • Value proposition canvas for using data to achieve organizational goals

Who Should Enroll

This program is ideal for current and future managers who want to improve their understanding of data and emerging concepts for its application in making informed decisions. It is designed to help participants develop and communicate data-driven strategies and objectives to senior leadership and organizational stakeholders.

Non-technical staff who want to interpret data resources and communicate more effectively about data will benefit, as will technical staff who want to design technical solutions that meet strategic goals. This program does not require previous technical knowledge or expertise.

Note: This is not a data science program and will not teach technical skills in managing data.

June Schedule

Week 1

  • History of Data and Current Trends

Week 2

  • How Organizations Use Data for Decision Making

Week 3

  • Data Lifecycle and Key Considerations

Week 4

  • Utilizing Data


  • Laura Manley

    Laura Manley

    Laura Manley is the Executive Director of the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She is also an Instructor at the Harvard Extension School.
  • Joel Gurin

    Joel Gurin

    Joel is president and founder of the Center for Open Data Enterprise, a Washington-based nonprofit that works to maximize the value of open data as a public resource. He previously served as chair of the White House Task Force on Smart Disclosure and as chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the US Federal Communications Commission.