Knowledge is power, as Sir Francis Bacon observed.

In business, politics, or any arena, the more we know, the more effectively we can create change. What is the current reality? What factors created and sustain it? How is the future likely to unfold given the forces in operation?

Objective, fact-based answers to these questions lay the groundwork for knowing what needs to be done to achieve a goal. At which point new knowledge comes into play – knowledge of the most effective tools to create change.

The good news is that for most of the challenges facing us as businesses, industries or society we have at our disposal unprecedented tools to gain the knowledge we need. Raw data in often staggering amounts. A toolkit ranging from “old” but still effective research techniques to cutting-edge machine-learning models. And a computational environment that is rapidly lowering barriers for professionals and amateurs alike.

And yet, paradoxically, in almost every important arena (health, economics, education, the environment, national security) society struggles to agree on facts, let alone root causes and paths forward.

Bridging this gap is what this blog is about. I won’t pretend to have the answers, but as someone who has spent the past 25 years using data analytics and data science to help people solve problems I have thoughts. I’m guessing you do too. My goal is to start conversations around how to use the data and tools we have to solve big challenges.

There are some excellent data science blogs that focus on technical methods and statistics. I will touch on those things here, but the main focus will be broader. I look forward to your comments, questions, and participation.