Flexible, Reasonable, and Accessible.
We work with nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, foundations, schools and local municipalities. We have developed an array of services that meet the diverse needs of our clients.
The Data Innovation Project (DIP) is part of the Catherine E. Cutler Institute at the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service and was established in early 2016 with support from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund. Our mission is to increase the capacity of mission-driven organizations to be data-informed by providing expert, accessible guidance and tools to build internal organizational capability to develop, sustain and use data to improve outcomes. We have worked with scores of organizations, nonprofits, foundations, and community collaboratives throughout the state of Maine on a range of projects – from multi-site, multi-year evaluations, to small data collection efforts, to customized capacity building trainings.
For more information about what we do and how you can work with us, please visit Our Services.
We Make Data Approachable.
We are a team of compassionate consultants with a variety of backgrounds and a diverse array of skills. We know that not everyone loves or understands data; for some people, the very word “data” strikes fear deep in their hearts. We are also familiar with the typical barriers to being a data-informed organization and how to address them. We are here to enable, not intimidate. Whether you need help thinking through a logic model or are in search of a partner for a complex national evaluation, we will meet you where you are and help you get to where you want to be.
We Tell Stories with Data.
We all tell stories. They are how we demonstrate the value of our work. They connect us to clients and customers, to investors and donors. They describe the future we seek. At the Data Innovation Project, we integrate the art of telling compelling stories with the science and power of data. We want all Maine organizations to be empowered to do the same.
We Are Connected.
Our connection with the Catherine E. Cutler Institute and Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine allows us to function as an access point for community members and to leverage university resources on behalf of our clients.
We, at the Data Innovation Project, strongly believe in equity and justice for Black people and people of color, yet know that anti-racist beliefs alone do not change racist institutions. Like many individuals and organizations, we are grappling with the ways in which we inadvertently protect and reinforce racist systems and practices as meaning makers, interpreters, and producers of knowledge. The social and life sciences have long been wielded to do immense harm to Black people and people of color (for example, phrenology and the Tuskegee study), and are still used to prop up racism in our social beliefs, practices, systems and institutions.
How do we move our field forward when this is its legacy? How can we be truly anti-racist in our research and evaluation?
Thankfully, many brilliant BIPOC thinkers and allies have been developing more equitable research practices for years. Please visit our Tips + Tools page that compiles our favorite resources on data and research equity. Of course, we know that reading is not enough. As individuals and as a team, we also continue the deeper work of ongoing anti-racist education, choosing action over discourse, redistributing resources over charity work, and dismantling racist structures in our institutions and our work. We look forward to engaging you in this work when relevant and building a just society together.
As part of our commitment to anti-racism, we also think it is critical to recognize that the study of the social sector is never truly neutral. As applied researchers, our individual positionalities, experiences, and perspectives influence the design, implementation, and analysis of our work. Therefore, it is our responsibility to be transparent about who we are and attentive to the ways in which this impacts our work. As a team of college-educated, middle-class, white women embedded in our Maine communities, we actively work to acknowledge and mitigate our biases as meaning makers, interpreters, and producers of knowledge. We also understand that this is a continuous and complex process at which we may not always succeed. While we may be homogenous in many ways, we are learners and listeners who are not afraid of dialogue and welcome your feedback.