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The Data Incubator Project

To solve the most pressing issues facing the nation, we must leverage data as a strategic asset. The Federal Data Strategy will highlight examples of the use of data to solve problems and serve the public, with a particular focus on examples that can be replicated or scaled or that solve high-priority problems. A select number of Use Cases deemed “ripe for testing” will be included in The Data Incubator Project.

What is a Use Case?

For the purposes of the Federal Data Strategy, a “Use Case” is a data practice or method that leverages data to support an articulable federal agency mission or public interest outcome. The Federal Data Strategy is seeking examples that solve problems or demonstrate solutions that can help inform the four strategy areas: Enterprise Data Governance; Use, Access, and Augmentation; Decision-making and Accountability; and Commercialization, Innovation, and Public Use.

Example Use Case Submissions

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Economic Development

State and local authorities increasingly need detailed local information about their economies to make informed decisions. The US Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (LEHD) program produces new, cost effective, public-use information combining federal, state and Census Bureau data on employers and employees under the Local Employment Dynamics (LED) Partnership.

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Public Safety

Emergency responders rely on up-to-date addresses for timely response. The Federal Geospatial Data Committee recognizes the need for a free, open, and up-to-date National Address Database (NAD) to serve these critical needs as well as a broad range of government services such as mail delivery, permitting, and school siting. Based on a minimum content approach, the Department of Transportation and the US Census Bureau’s NAD pilot collected and standardized addresses from 22 state partners.

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National Security

Preventing and minimizing adverse effects of cyber attacks is imperative to national security in the 21st century. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Vulnerability Database and the Homeland Security Systems Engineering and Development Institute’s Common Vulnerabilities and Exposure list enable automation of vulnerability management, security measurement, and compliance.

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Local communities and health professionals reacting to the opioid crisis require timely data to assess impact and deliver effective interventions. The Department of Health and Human Services’ 5 Point Strategy to Combat the Opioids Crisis includes Point 2, Better Data — supporting more timely, specific public health data and reporting, and accelerating the Center for Disease Control’s reporting of drug overdose data.

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Students seek colleges that give them the best return on their investment. The College Scorecard provides up-to-date, comprehensive, and reliable information about college costs, student loan amounts, student ability to repay loans, and their expected earnings.

Why does the Federal Data Strategy need Use Cases?

Many high-level civic data challenges have been identified in the past–archaic data management practices and IT legacy systems, issues with data sharing and interoperability, and a lack of secondary use considerations. But the Federal Government lacks an overall approach to tackle these challenges and prioritize data infrastructure improvements that serve the public. The Federal Data Strategy needs priority data Use Cases to ensure it is comprehensive and actionable.

How will the Federal Data Strategy incorporate Use Cases?

These Use Cases will be identified and discussed in the Federal Data Strategy, and a select number of ready Use Cases will be assessed more deeply in The Data Incubator Project.

How will select Use Cases be incubated?

To be “ripe for testing,” Use Cases must demonstrate the potential for replication, scaling, and mission impact. They also must have a ready team for further exploration and assessment purposes. The Data Incubator Project is not a new platform or set of resources, but rather is focused research aimed at identifying methods for the Federal Data Strategy and for agencies going forward. The Federal Data Strategy team will seek academic, private sector, and NGO partnerships to further our learning from The Data Incubator Project.

How can I submit a Use Case?

Our first feedback round concluded on July 30, 2018, and we are now working to incorporate your feedback into our Principles and Draft Practices, as well as review all the use cases submitted. In October, we will publish the next set of deliverables, including the Draft Practices document for your review and input.

You may also review the public comments submitted via our companion Cross-Agency Priority Goal: Leveraging Data as a Strategic Asset Request for Comments (RFC) on