In this fascinating article from the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Kevin Desouza and Kendra Smith deconstruct the world of big data, explaining how data sets are being used for marketing and product innovation but are not applied adequately to social innovation. Merck can predict the next Claritin sales spike through data analysis; Target can accurately assess the month a woman became pregnant by analyzing her shopping patterns and Internet usage. However, seldom is big data applied to tackle complex social issues, such as human trafficking or health care reimbursement. This article breaks down a few of the obstacles and offers four recommendations for a more efficient global use of data.

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