My current daydream: The marriage of outcomes management apps with data visualization apps

The marriage of outcomes management with data visualization

Given my current preoccupation with both outcomes management and data visualization for mission-based organizations, perhaps it’s not a surprise that I’m daydreaming about integrating applications that were designed for these two tasks.

This daydream was inspired by a recent conversation with Patrice Keegan, executive director of Boston Cares (a HandsOn Network affiliate).  She is keenly interested in both outcomes and data visualization, and she leads a nonprofit of modest size that collaborates not only with many local partners but also with a national network of sister organizations that facilitate short-term volunteering.  In other words, Boston Cares provides a gateway to volunteerism for individuals, corporations, and community-based nonprofits, and then shares best practices with its counterparts across the United States.

What better poster girl could there be than Patrice, for my Cause, which is making it not only possible but easy for her to take her outcomes analyses and turn them in visuals that tell the story of the social impact of Boston Cares?

Moreover, what good is a cause and a poster child, without a poster?  Here’s mine:

Patrice Keegan of Boston Cares
Special note to software developers in the nonprofit sector:  please take a look at that bright, shining face, and give your efforts to the cause.

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3 thoughts on “My current daydream: The marriage of outcomes management apps with data visualization apps

  1. ampelmann82 01/09/2013 at 4:58 pm Reply

    Can you send me a scetch or screenshot of what you would be looking for and a sample export of the data you have? I might have a look at a solution if you like.

  2. Mike Turk 01/10/2013 at 4:43 pm Reply


    Problem is how do you display complex (often massive) data sets in a simple visual manner.

    Have thought about this issue for many years. What you are looking for is a piece of software that has the flexibility to alter the way the data is presented dependent upon the perspective of the consumer of the information. Any piece of software that I have seen is very one or two dimensional at best. There is currently no software that presents the data to the observer in a way that each viewer can uniquely structure it.

    This is the problem that Facebook is having now. How do they tailor all the data they have collected on every user in such a way that is helpful for each person or business. In my humble opinion, this is the main reason that people working in the humanities have not readily adopted information systems.

    I have thought about this much and my design idea is a system that at a minimum contains information on 4 dimensions or axis, with the capability to expand potentially to an unlimited number of perspectives. No mathematical, statistical programs currently allow for this type of representation. Would share more about this if you would like. I have created many protyptes which simply the appearance of complex data sets for any observer to easily understand them.

    Just so you know I understand you. I hold dual Masters in Social Work, and information systems.


  3. What a great topic and one I have thought about as well. When You come up with a solution , let me know. It will be an enormous help to those of us who are trying to promote seeing the various perspectives and stakeholder groups as distinct and important in their own right.

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