For most people, using data feels intimidating and boring – and working with data is often taught in a way that reinforces these feelings.

What if we were to make working with data more like play?

Short-Term Goals

  • Make it easier for newcomers to get their feet wet and to overcome any feelings of intimidation, imposter syndrome, etc.
  • Help people more fully engage with data the way they do with a game or a toy

Long-Term Goals

If we can make working with data more like play, we believe it could provide a small but critical role in helping communities build effective grassroots power. For example:

  • Exercise Power over How We Are Defined: today data is often used as a way of dehumanizing people, making it easier to treat them like they’re just numbers in a spreadsheet. We believe the tactical use of making working with data more playful could be used as a way for expressing our full creative selves, both individually and collectively, opening up small but important spaces for redefining how data is used
  • Re-Centering Values in Critical Fights. From the state house to work sites, as hard as it is to use grassroots power to win, it can be even harder to understand what we can do once we’ve won. Data is often deployed in a way to make, for example, battles over budgets opaque and intimidating, something that only experts can understand. By making working with data more playful, we think we may be able to open up more room to take power away from budget geeks and to put people’s values at the center of conversations
  • Getting Comfortable Making Complex Trade-Offs. It’s one thing to denounce the decisions of people with power when you don’t have any power. But when grassroots groups start winning elections, they often face hard, complex trade-offs that many aren’t used to having to make. By making working with data more like a game, for example, it can make it easier for members of grassroots groups to tap into the parts of them that are used to making difficult trade-offs in games.