Event Info


Eastern Standard Time (North America)


ICMA Member
Data-Driven Decision Making


Data-driven decision making doesn't have to be rocket science. Learn how local governments can take the next steps with data - and it's easier than you might think!

Local government professionals agree that evidence-based decision making is the best practice. Even so, the majority of cities don’t use data for their strategic planning processes. The truth is the overwhelming mountain of “big data” often paralyzes action. 

So how can leaders harness the right community data in the most practical ways for the best return? In this certificate program, Polco data science experts will teach the best ways to incorporate community information into the planning process. Leaders will learn how to capture the right data and ensure community and/or staff feedback is truly representative. 

What Is Data-Driven Decision Making?

Instead of using simple intuition, assumptions, and/or anecdotes, data-driven decision making (DDDM) gives sound credence to new policies and initiatives. DDDM brings together appropriate data sources, analysis, and metrics to help inform choices, reasoning, and actions.

Advantages of Data-Driven Decision Making

Data-driven decision making increases inclusivity, defensibility, and the opportunity for performance measurement. Most importantly, DDDM increases the likelihood that government leaders and staff decisions produce the desired outcomes. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn the best practices to gather data and how to formulate questions data can help answer.
  2. Understand how to use data to make better decisions for strategic planning, budgeting, and performance measurement.
  3. Understand how to design a sustainable data-driven performance measurement system that can help track overall performance in a meaningful way.
  4. Discover promising practices in transparency and accountability to build government trust at the local level.

Registration Fee: 

Member Price $649.00 / Non-Member Price $1,299.00


October 8, 2024
Module 1: Strengthening Resident Confidence in Local Decision Making

October 22, 2024
Module 2: Measuring What Matters

November 5, 2024
Module 3:  Using  Data  to Drive Internal Change

November 19, 2024
Module 4: Using Data to Improve Community Livability 

December 3, 2024
Module 5: Performance Measurement

December 17, 2024
Module 6: Putting Data to Work 


Polco Speakers:

Michelle Kobayashi of Polco

Michelle Kobayashi, Senior Vice President of Innovation

Michelle Kobayashi is a thought leader in the field of survey research and evaluation, and has written numerous books and articles on the subject. As a community survey expert with experience working in local government, she travels the country to speak professionally and lead workshops on resident surveys, performance measurement, strategic planning, and more. Kobayashi has led the innovation efforts of National Research Center for nearly 30 years, and keeps Polco / NRC on the cutting edge of the survey industry.



Toby McKearin-Polco


Tobin McKearin, Vice President of Data Science 

Tobin McKearin is a strategic and people-focused leader, complex problem solver, economist, and combat pilot. He is a career Air Force Officer with extensive leadership experience in data analysis, risk management, project management, and process improvement. Tobin has over 20 years of experience in risk management, risk mitigation, and regulatory compliance and over 12 years in predictive modeling, statistical forecasting, and data analysis, where he has played roles as an individual and as a team lead. He has a bachelor's degree in economics and operations research from the United States Air Force Academy, masters in' economics from the University of Hawaii, and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas. 


Presented by 

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ICMA Strategic Partner







New, Reduced Membership Dues

A new, reduced dues rate is available for CAOs/ACAOs, along with additional discounts for those in smaller communities, has been implemented. Learn more and be sure to join or renew today!