Rebekah Jones, former geographic information systems manager for the State of Florida, is our Measurement Maven of the Month. As a measurement and data geek, I view Rebekah Jones and all of the data scientists working to make COVID-19 data more accurate as another group of heroes in this fight against the coronavirus. They may not be putting their lives on the line the way health care workers are, but some, like Jones, are in fact putting their jobs on the line to ensure that the public is informed with complete and accurate data. Their efforts to ensure that we have good data are invaluable for making decisions about how we operate in these COVID times.
Jones had created a data portal to track COVID cases by ZIP code. But when she refused to manipulate the data in a way that would support the desires of the governor, she was fired. She isn’t the first data geek to be fired for delivering bad news, but her next move is what makes her our Maven of the Month. She essentially took her dashboard development skills and created a whole new dashboard, now funded entirely by donations. So far she’s raised $172,068 of her $500,000 goal! Here is a recent screen shot of her dashboard:
I hope none of you, our readers, are ever fired for delivering accurate data, or have to rely on a GoFundMe campaign to implement your measurement systems. But we would like you to take inspiration and courage from Rebekah Jones: Stand by your data, even when it shows that a pet project or a key initiative isn’t working. You always learn more from failure than you do from success. By continuing to deliver accurate, reliable, and consistent data, no matter how bad it looks, you are delivering data that needs to be known. Congratulations to Rebekah Jones, our Measurement Maven of the Month. ∞