The Challenge launched in 2020, in recognition that any strong and growing economy requires an inclusive and resilient approach to growth to ensure that talent, innovation, and our communities can become stronger in times of stress. We aimed to catalyze innovative and scalable solutions to help individuals and communities thrive, all the while building resilience to withstand future challenges.
The Challenge took place during the COVID-19 global pandemic, which affected our society in profound ways and required new and innovative approaches. Beyond the impact on public health, the COVID-19 crisis had severe economic repercussions. Supply chains were disrupted, businesses suffered losses, workers faced unemployment, and too many people lacked the savings or credit to weather an economic downturn.
We sought inclusive growth proposals from and for anywhere in the world. The Challenge looked in particular for proposals in the categories listed below – but also welcomed other proposals for using data science to advance shared prosperity, and help ensure an inclusive recovery.
JOBS OF TOMORROW
Leave no worker behind
Low wage workers are among the most vulnerable in today’s economy. In times of economic stress, current trends toward automation and job displacement could accelerate. How can we use data science to help workers remain secure in precarious times? Can data insights predict trends in the labor market and connect and prepare workers for the jobs of tomorrow?
ACCESS TO CAPITAL
Leave no entrepreneur behind
Unleashing the spirit of grassroots entrepreneurs can help communities rebound by creating much-needed jobs and growing local economies. Yet, in times of recession, the flow of credit to micro and small businesses tends to slow down. How can data science enable microentrepreneurs to gain access to capital? How can data science help us identify micro and small businesses with the potential to grow? How can data insights rethink creditworthiness and unlock capital for high potential business owners?
CITIES & TOWNS
Leave no place behind
An economic recession will hit some places harder than others. As public and private sector investments flow into cities and towns to stimulate the economy, how can leaders use data-driven insights to make the right decisions to ensure economic security in underserved communities? How can data and analytics help connect neighborhoods to the resources and networks they need to access opportunity, including quality education, affordable housing and childcare, decent jobs, and transportation? We are seeking applications of data science that can fuel economic growth and empower communities to thrive without further exacerbating inequality.
Want to know more about data.org and data science for social impact?
Meet the team of experts who will review this year’s submissions.