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Introducing the 360Giving Data Strategy Canvas

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The words ‘data’ and ‘strategy’ can seem intimidating when used on their own. Thinking about the two together can give many people, myself included, a headache.

When we started to talk about the idea of ‘data leadership’ for our Data Champions programme, run with Dirk Slater from FabRiders, we thought we needed to tackle the topic of data strategy in a way that was clear, accessible and useful for funders in the programme. 

Defining and understanding ‘data strategy’

In our Data Champions programme, grantmakers come together to collaborate and learn how to grow a data culture in their funding organisations. In our last workshop, participants focused on data leadership, and how data strategy can help to grow the organisation. 

Firstly, we had to establish what the phrase ‘data strategy’ actually meant. We see data strategy as a process of thinking about how data can be incorporated into our work to help us achieve short, medium and long term goals. In a workshop with our Data Champions, we considered different workstreams where having a good data strategy could be helpful – namely decision making, data culture, grantmaking and knowledge sharing. 

Discussing data strategy using a canvas

We realised we needed a tool to help us think about and articulate a data strategy. One of the tools that came to mind was a canvas, which is usually used in project planning. A canvas is really good for structured conversations, idea generation and group discussions around strategy, but it is not the strategy in itself. Because of its simplicity and agreed-upon vocabulary, it provides a complete overview and enables everyone to be on the same page.

The most well-known canvas is the business model canvas, which helps entrepreneurs to plan their business models, projects plans, etc. You can also learn more about it in this Nesta report

At first, we wanted to see if a ‘data strategy canvas’ already existed, so we asked Twitter for help:

We got some good leads, but none of them was what we were looking for. So we thought, why don’t we create a canvas with our Data Champions? 

Creating the 360Giving Data Strategy Canvas through collaboration

During a workshop that took place at the beginning of June, 2020, we divided our champions into small groups that looked at different scenarios: decision making, data culture, grantmaking and knowledge sharing. Based on the Business Model Canvas template, they examined what components should be part of the data strategy template, what questions we needed to ask ourselves, and what type of ideas it could generate.

As a second step, we curated all the common topics into one canvas, which we now call the 360Giving Data Strategy Canvas. You can download it here in as a PDF format or here as a Google Slide.

What can you do with the 360Giving Data Strategy Canvas?

  • You can use it in your next strategy meeting
  • It can help to kick-start new data projects
  • It can help to understand how to build a data culture in your team
  • It can support and complement knowledge sharing activities

 

We welcome any feedback or suggestions for the canvas. Just email us at labs@threesixtygiving.org