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Event Details

Data-driven decision making doesn't have to be rocket science. Learn how local governments can take the next steps with data - and it's easier than you might think!

 Local government professionals agree that evidence-based decision making is the best practice. Even so, the majority of cities don’t use data for their strategic planning processes. The truth is the overwhelming mountain of “big data” often paralyzes action. 

So how can leaders harness the right community data in the most practical ways for the best return? In this certificate program, Polco data science experts will teach the best ways to incorporate community information into the planning process. Data-Driven Decision Making Plus leaders will use the learnings from these sessions to create a capstone project. Data-Driven Decision Making Plus participants can choose an internal project (organizational climate) or external project (strategic planning, public engagement plan, or apply for another) to be the focus of their capstone work. Leaders will learn how to capture the right data and ensure community and/or staff feedback is truly representative. 

What Is Data-Driven Decision Making?

Instead of using simple intuition, assumptions, and/or anecdotes, data-driven decision making (DDDM) gives sound credence to new policies and initiatives. DDDM brings together appropriate data sources, analysis, and metrics to help inform choices, reasoning, and actions.

Advantages of Data-Driven Decision Making

Data-driven decision making increases inclusivity, defensibility, and the opportunity for performance measurement. Most importantly, DDDM increases the likelihood that government leaders and staff decisions produce the desired outcomes. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn the best practices to gather data and how to formulate questions data can help answer.
  2. Understand how to use data to make better decisions for strategic planning, budgeting, and performance measurement.
  3. Understand how to design a sustainable data-driven performance measurement system that can help track overall performance in a meaningful way.
  4. Discover promising practices in transparency and accountability to build government trust at the local level.

Two Tracks Available:

Track 1: Data-Driven Decision Making. Track 1 allows the registrant to participate in Modules 1 through 6, meeting all four learning objectives and receive an ICMA  certificate of completion.

Registration Fee: Member Price $649.00 / Non-Member Price $1,299.00

Track 2: Data-Driven Decision Making Plus (Capstone). Track 2 provides all the benefits of Track 1 plus the opportunity to receive coaching as you use what you have leaned to make a positive impact for your organization through a capstone project earning a Data-Driven Decision Making Mastery certificate. 

Registration Fee: Member Price $849.00 / Non-Member Price $1,499.00


February 27, 2024
Module 1: Strengthening Resident Confidence in Local Decision Making

March 19, 2024
Module 2: Measuring What Matters

April 2, 2024
Module 3:  Using  Data  to Drive Internal Change

April 16, 2024
Module 4: Using Data to Improve Community Livability 

April 30, 2024
Module 5: Performance Measurement

May 14, 2024
Module 6: Putting Data to Work 

June 2024
Capstone coaching begins

ICMA 2024 Annual Conference - Final capstone presentation and graduation

(Attendance at ICMA's Annual Conference is encouraged but not mandatory.)

Polco Speakers:

Michelle Kobayashi of Polco

Michelle Kobayashi, Senior Vice President of Innovation

Michelle Kobayashi is a thought leader in the field of survey research and evaluation, and has written numerous books and articles on the subject. As a community survey expert with experience working in local government, she travels the country to speak professionally and lead workshops on resident surveys, performance measurement, strategic planning, and more. Kobayashi has led the innovation efforts of National Research Center for nearly 30 years, and keeps Polco / NRC on the cutting edge of the survey industry.



Toby McKearin-Polco


Tobin McKearin, Vice President of Data Science 

Tobin McKearin is a strategic and people-focused leader, complex problem solver, economist, and combat pilot. He is a career Air Force Officer with extensive leadership experience in data analysis, risk management, project management, and process improvement. Tobin has over 20 years of experience in risk management, risk mitigation, and regulatory compliance and over 12 years in predictive modeling, statistical forecasting, and data analysis, where he has played roles as an individual and as a team lead. He has a bachelor's degree in economics and operations research from the United States Air Force Academy, masters in' economics from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas. 


Presented by 

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