Foundations of Data-Driven Decision Making (Online)

Data literacy has become an essential skill for professionals in all fields, and data-driven decision making is the key to success for many companies and organizations.  Understanding how to use and apply the right data sets can help you make better decisions for your organization and communicate more effectively with your team.

Designed to be accessible for non-technical managers, our online intensive foundational program will give you the tools and knowledge that enable you to analyze and leverage data for your organizational strategy, from smart usage of publicly available sources to data visualization techniques that bring numbers to life.

Managers and aspiring leaders who need to improve their technical literacy, understand how data can be applied to actionable operational insights, and pitch their data-driven projects will find what they need in this program. Informative virtual lectures, productive online discussion, relevant case studies, and interactive exercises help you absorb and retain the information you need to thrive in today’s data-centric environment.

Note: All program content will be delivered live and will not be recorded. 

Program Benefits

  • Learn how to apply data to forecasting, marketing, product development, business intelligence, and other core strategic goals.
  • Understand core concepts related to data for decision making such as categories of data, standards, sources, collection, management, and applications.
  • Identify opportunities to leverage data for your organization and identify the most valuable data types and data sets.
  • Communicate effectively with senior management and technical staff to apply data-driven strategies within a department.
  • Earn a digital Certificate of Participation from the Harvard Division of Continuing Education

Topics Covered

  • Types of data and sources to make effective decisions at different organizational levels
  • How organizations analyze and use data to improve their operations and develop new products and services
  • Relevant, high-value sources for government, business, and non-governmental organizations (NGO) datasets
  • How to use 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 online program is ideal for current and future managers who want to improve their understanding of data and emerging concepts for its application in making informed decisions.

It is designed to help participants develop and communicate data-driven strategies and objectives to senior leadership and organizational stakeholders. Non-technical staff who want to communicate more effectively with technical staff and interpret data resources will benefit, as will technical staff who want to apply their skills to strategic organizational goals. This online program does not require previous technical knowledge or expertise.

Program Information

Program Dates

May 24–27, 2021
Instructor Joel Gurin, Laura Manley
October 26–29, 2021
Instructor Joel Gurin, Laura Manley

Class Times

10:00 am—1:30 pm ET

Program Fee

2021 Program Fee: $2,150


Online (Zoom)


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

Read More about Joel Gurin

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.

Read More about Laura Manley