NYC data office looks to evolve past ‘startup mentality’

When the New York City Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics was signed into the city charter last December, the agency became a permanent fixture of city government — now, the agency is plotting its next steps.

Craig Campbell, MODA’s assistant director for policy operations, says that means moving to a new model of operating that reflects the agency’s permanence.

“MODA is moving from a sort of startup mentality to one that has more durable processes as we find our permanent place in City Hall,” Campbell says in a video interview recorded at MODA’s offices. “That includes moving ad-hoc initiatives, special programs surrounding advanced analytics and data into the more core data management strategies and routine decision making strategies for an agency.”

The move to make MODA a lasting piece of city government “was a powerful statement by legislators, the mayor and advocates,” Campbell says. More than just solidifying the agency’s presence in government, the move signifies the success of what began as an experiment.

“What was by all counts an experiment in urban analytics has paid off in the nation’s largest and most complex city,” Campbell says.

Going forward, the city will continue its focus on open data and better integrating data analytics practices into city agencies. In addition, Campbell says, his team will focus on workforce.

“We’re also doubling down on focus on the analyst, so data analysts at the line level,” Campbell says. “There is a lot of conversation within the analytics space on technology, [and] less so on human capital. So we’re taking a close look at how we can support analysts across different agencies and raise the floor for how analytics is done.”

Campbell on the challenges MODA faces:

On NYC as a hotbed for data innovation:

On the future of data analytics in NYC:

This video was filmed at the Mayor’s Office for Data Analytics offices in New York City on March 22, 2019.