From “Data Jam” to “Datapalooza”

Ashley White, PhD
Celebrating Leaders Transforming Markets Through Data Collaboration

Imagine being able to readily access and interpret human health and environmental attributes of any building product—ingredient lists, health and ecosystem hazards, life cycle data, assessments, and more. Making specification and purchasing decisions that prioritize health and benefit the environment would be a lot easier. An important step towards realizing this vision is the development of innovative tools and information technologies that can accelerate market transformation and achieve impact at scale.

A special USGBC Master Series session at Greenbuild this year will celebrate the work of individuals and organizations leading the way towards this goal. Transforming Markets through Data Collaboration will feature inspirational kick-off remarks, a panel of experts from leading organizations, and a set of ten “lightning demos” featuring transformative new tools and services.

Lightning Demonstration Participants

Lightning Demonstration Participants

This celebratory “datapalooza” is the second of two events on data that USGBC has convened as part of its LEED, Materials, and Health Initiative. It builds on work begun at the Building Materials Data Jam held in Chicago in June in conjunction with the 2014 AIA National Convention.

So, what are data jams and datapaloozas? Data jams are small events that gather top technology executives to identify and discuss industry needs related to data and to brainstorm innovative ways to meet those needs. They facilitate small-group conversation and catalyze ideas for new approaches and collaborations. Datapaloozas follow up on data jams to feature and celebrate work that is driving the market toward the goals and opportunities identified during the first event. They present an opportunity to recognize important steps in the right direction and mark milestones on the journey toward market transformation

The data jam/datapalooza concept was started five years ago by former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park—then the CTO of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—when he helped convene the first annual Health Datapalooza. Today, the Health Datapalooza continues as an annual festival of open data and technology entrepreneurship. The White House and a variety of executive agencies have held dozens of successful events bringing attention to the role of data in topics including education, energy, and public safety. Their inspirational efforts catalyzed market transformation powered by open data and transformative information technology.

USGBC’s Building Materials Data Jam brought together representatives from 40 organizations specializing in data, tools, and services related to human health and environmental attributes of materials. The select group included chemical suppliers, manufacturers, architecture firms, contractors, academic institutions, non-profits, and government agencies from across the United States. Keynote presentations highlighted data-related challenges facing the building materials industry and lessons learned from other industries that have tackled similar problems. Breakout discussions identified opportunities to drive large-scale data transformation through “impact at scale” by seeking common ground in identifying and tackling challenges and forming new collaborations that combine the skills and knowledge of multiple organizations.

Three months later, USGBC’s Transforming Markets through Data Collaboration event at Greenbuild will follow up on the success of the June Data Jam and celebrate the latest developments in tools and services. It will feature inspirational individuals and organizations that are providing new ways to understand and act on information about the health and environmental attributes of building materials. The leaders featured at this event are driving positive change in the green building industry and realizing the vision of accessible, actionable building materials data.

Three opportunities to engage:

  1. Join us! Add Session C15: Transforming Markets through Data Collaboration (Wednesday, October 22, 2-4pm, New Orleans Theater) to your schedule now.
  1. Find more good stuff to do at Greenbuild! Read this article for more information on sessions related to materials and health at Greenbuild.
  1. Get more information about the LEED, Materials, and Health Initiative events series! Follow links to video recordings from the Data Jam and read more in this article.
Ashley White, PhD
Senior Research Fellow at USGBC and Materials Scientist. Working to improve our understanding of the health impacts of building materials, increase materials data transparency, and incentivize the use of non-toxic ingredients in building materials. Ph.D. in Materials Science from the University of Cambridge.