Data-Driven Decision Making for Business Leaders

Data literacy has become an essential business skill. Understanding the characteristics and applications of data sets can help you make better decisions for your organization and communicate more effectively with your team.

Our two-day intensive program will give you the tools and knowledge that enable you to leverage data in your business strategy, from smart usage of open data sources to data visualization techniques that bring numbers to life.

Managers and aspiring leaders who need to improve their tech literacy and understand how data can be applied to actionable business insights will find what they need in this program. Dynamic lectures, productive classroom discussion, relevant case studies, and user-centered design exercises help you absorb and retain the information you need to thrive in today’s data-centric environment.

Program Benefits

  • Understand the latest trends and technologies in data and identify those that are most important for your organizations
  • Communicate effectively with technical staff to apply data-driven strategies within a department
  • Apply data to improve organizational efficiencies, launch new products, solve problems, discover new markets, and more
  • Find the most valuable open data sources for your work
  • Present concepts for data-driven projects to senior management, clients, or business partners
  • Earn a Certificate of Participation from the Harvard University Division of Continuing Education

Topics Covered

  • Types of data (quantitative versus qualitative) and the data sources most important in business
  • Using data to improve organizational operations through better planning, marketing, production, and more
  • How companies analyze and use data to build new products and services
  • Key data-related concepts—such as data quality, interoperability, and data security—and how they apply to your work
  • Analytic and data publishing tools, such as machine learning and data visualization, and how they can help you put data to use
  • Relevant, high-value sources for government, business, and NGO datasets
  • Customer segments and personas to identify opportunities for data-driven decision making
  • Value proposition canvas for using data to achieve organizational goals

Who Should Enroll

This program is ideal for current and future managers who want to improve their understanding of data and emerging tech concepts. Non-technical staff who want to communicate more effectively with technical staff and interpret data resources will also benefit. For example, professionals with the following roles will find the course material useful:

  • Business owners and managers
  • Federal, state, and local policymakers
  • Strategists and analysts
  • Teachers and instructors
  • Marketers and advertisers

Program Information

Program Dates

November 4–5, 2019
Instructor Joel Gurin, Laura Manley

Class Times

Programs run from 9 am to 5 pm.

Program Fee

2019 Program Fee: $2,850


One Brattle Square
Harvard University
Cambridge, Mass.


Joel is the president and founder of the Center for Open Data Enterprise, a Washington-based nonprofit that works to maximize the value of open data as a public resource. Before launching the Center in January 2015, he wrote the book Open Data Now and led the launch team for the GovLab’s Open Data 500 study and Open Data Roundtables

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Laura Manley is the inaugural director of the Technology and Public Purpose Project at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Led by former Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, the project aims to steer rapid technology-driven change in directions that serve net, long-term public good. Manley is also a Senior Consultant for the World Bank Group and the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs.

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