WHO ARE NEAL MYRICK AND STEVE SCHWARTZ?
So, let’s say that you had a great idea for a commercial product or service that ultimately grew into a fairly large, sustainable and profitable company. Would you be the type of founder entrepreneur who would step back and say to yourself, “I wonder how we might give back some of the success we’ve had to help solve some of the world’s more important problems?”
Lucky for everyone, that is exactly what the folks that started Tableau Software have done through the Tableau Foundation. In this, the 127th episode of the Terms of Reference Podcast, I speak with Neal Myrick and Steve Schwartz. Neal is the Director of Social Impact at Tableau Software and Director of Tableau Foundation. Steve the Marketing Manager for Tableau Software’s Social Impact efforts and supports the Tableau Foundation’s work. Steve is also a co-founder of Upaya Social Ventures, a nonprofit incubator that is building businesses and creating jobs in India’s poorest communities.
Specifically, we focus our conversation on how Tableau has partnered with PATH to create the VisualizeNoMalria campaign, and how Tableau’s software contributes to this campaign through data analysis and visualization support.
You can connect with Neal and Steve here:
IN TOR 127 YOU’LL LEARN ABOUT:
- The outstanding efforts of Tableau through the Tableau Foundation, unlike some tech companies who just “parachute-dump” their tech to the field.
- How they go beyond CSR and apply talent and data for actual humanitarian crises and emergencies, like Ebola in Zambia.
- The importance of “respecting the community” when bringing innovative solutions to the field.
- How Tableau promotes humanitarian work, not only for their employees, but partners too.
- The value of partnerships, when humanitarian work can teach businesses, and the mindset data companies can bring to aid.
OUR CONVERSATION INCLUDES THE FOLLOWING:
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Tableau for Nonprofits
- PATH (Seattle Health NGO)
- Zambia Ministry of Health
- Trilio Data
- Real Impact Analytics
- Stanford Universitys
- DHIS 2
- Box, ’s ImpactCloud
- Stanford Social Innovation Review
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Global Daily
- Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data
- UN General Assembly
- The Guardian
- Data, Visualizations and Dashboards
- Mobile data collecting
- Data Capacity Building
- Water Quality
- Seattle, WA
EPISODE CRIB NOTES
A software company made by Stanford alumni and an Academy Award winner for his work in Pixar.
Tableau helps people “see and understand data.”
“Make beautiful visualizations, away from columns and rows.”
46k customers around the world, from small to Fortune 500.
A Military branch that involves moving large equipment uses Tableau after 3 years of frustration across dozens of divisions each with a corresponding PowerPoint presentation. One visualization solved everything and helped with collaboration.
Where are my assets?
A large visualization screen at Tableau Headquarters gives information about nearby restaurants and night life.
Helping the community is embedded in Tableau culture, right into the mission.
Soon the company made a lot of donations.
Still did in 2013 when Tableau went public (NASDAQ: $DATA).
“To encourage the use of facts to solve the world’s problems.”
He set out to branch from technology, hopefully bypassing CSR.
People saw Tableau’s tech and staff as potentially transformative, probably even more than money.
“We have eager employees.” They began working on a grant mapping tool. Employees can work on nonprofits.
Tableau matches their in-specie contribution with money.
Community grant programs for all offices.
Tableau went beyond data and tech and CS contributions. “We respected the community’s needs.”
They followed with “Tableau for Nonprofits” in partnership with TechSoup.
Nonprofits in 182 countries use Tableau almost for free, full support and updates and all.
Nonprofits are beta testers of upcoming versions of the software.
Scaling volunteering up
Tableau allows clients’ employees to get involved in humanitarian work.
They keep close track of data-based aid work for learning.
“We have become data capacity builders.”
There are NGOs who understand the value of data.
Neal meets with PATH. They do innovative health work. A VP asks, “How would you like to help us eradicate malaria?”
“It set the tone. We became equals.”
Data project with PATH and the Ministry of Health of Zambia.
Health Data in southern, land-locked Africa
“We understand the value of our core competency, and our limitations. We know nothing about malaria.”
Through work they have met with partners who understand and do the implementation.
Tableau brought a methodological shift.
People are reservoirs and mosquitoes are transport vessels for malaria. People including health personnel (community workers) do not know how to handle protection.
With Tableau the approached moved.
Data was a challenge. Data collection required effort and mobile devices for standardization. Tableau worked on quality assessment of data, accurate warehousing for use.
Steve jumps in.
Commercial clients and the military work with an “analytical mindset” already.
For nonprofit work Tableau also had to take care of bringing the analytical mindset.
“We rebuilt the culture of data to community health workers.”
It required focusing on the pipeline. Data went unused, even un-recorded.
Steve made efforts to highlight and share feedback.
Quality of coverage dramatically increased. 93% drop (in malaria cases, in-period?).
Feedback loop standards
Stephen: Development Gateway’s Homer talk (TOR 106). The collector is often not included in the loop, affects their incentives for good keeping.
Agreed on the ‘value to collectors.’
New campaign: visualize area, bring more partners.
“Think things differently as a Foundation.”
Inviting commercial partners to the malaria initiative, a 5 year commitment.
Tableau also supports Zambia’s Ministry to eradicate malaria by 2020.
Tableau will support the long run, as will partner Trilio, to the full campaign.
Stephen: We will put some of the visualizations on the blog post.
What am I looking at? “Spike in 2014 followed by a precipitous drop.”
Also, Real Impact Analytics found a way to access mobile data with privacy, on movement of people across districts, match to malaria outbreaks.
Solely on the movement of people, probabilities of contagion are calculated.
The Ministry has final say on who gets to see the data.
“We believe in responsible use of data, partnered up with Stanford for this.”
Cross-breedings and overlaps
They worked with a team of volunteers from commercial partners for a year, some even went to Zambia for workshops.
Some lessons learned on assumptions and actual needs on field.
Found out about Open Source DHIS 2 GIS Tool used all over the world to map health data.
This project is enabling better interaction between DHIS2 and Tableau, “with respect.”
Tableau is designed to plug in all kinds of data. So the more data the better.
Partnership with Box’s ImpactCloud (encompasses 7 partners) about disaster relief.
“There is a culture of collaboration in the software community”: Mapbox, Qualtrics.
“We want to get ahead of the disease.”
The few who do the same work together.
Stephen: We have game changing tools. Let’s change the game!
Some companies “parachute” their solutions to the field. But everyone is learning about better interventions, respect.
It’s Neal and Steve’s recommendation time
Stanford Social Innovation Review.
UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.
Talks with members of UN General Assembly.
“Our own partners. Many employees conversation go ‘yeah before Tableau I…’ An employee is actually Zambian, a terrific resource.”
Sensors, for Water Quality and Monitoring.
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