Announced via press release:

County Executive Ball Holds Innovation Summit, Announces ‘HoCoDASH’ and $225,000 Innovation Fund

The Howard County Data Analytics and Statistics Hub (HoCoDASH) is a performance management system and website designed to improve County services. $225,000 Innovation Fund created for non-profits to receive grants for innovative projects.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball held an “Innovation Summit” to announce his new analytics initiative aimed at fostering innovation for the public good, in addition to announcing available grant funding for innovative ideas. The event culminated in the launch of the Howard County Data Analytics and Statistics Hub (HoCoDASH), along with its new website. Additionally, Ball revealed Howard County’s first “Innovation Fund” that consists of $225,000 in grant funding for projects that utilize innovation to improve the quality of life for Howard County residents. Other presenters at the Innovation Summit included Johns Hopkins University- Applied Physics Lab, the Maryland Transportation Institute, the Do Good Institute, the Howard County Library System and the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability. To view the HoCoDash website, please click here. To apply for the Innovation Fund, please click here. The application process will begin on October 15, 2019 and will close on December 6, 2019 (11:59 p.m.).

“After taking office as your County Executive, I made it a priority for Howard County to lead with bold, forward-thinking ideas and statistical analysis. While, we’ve made many steps together over the past nine months, today, we made a giant leap forward for Howard County. HoCoDASH is an innovative, groundbreaking initiative that will improve the effectiveness of services to residents, businesses, visitors, and future generations,” said Ball. “Through a focus on data development, collection, analysis, and evaluation, our system will look deeper than we have before and glean important insight into county performance and community issues. With our Innovation Grants we are looking to support the next great idea that will improve our quality of life and serve the public good.”

Howard County Data Analytics and Statistics Hub (HoCoDASH)

HoCoDASH is a performance management system designed to further improve the effectiveness and efficiency of County services. It will provide decision-makers and stakeholders with the vital information and recommendations. HoCoDASH includes two major components: 1) Performance Measures and 2) Community Indicators.

1)    Performance Measures demonstrate how effectively the County is achieving key objectives. Howard County Government has developed sets of performance measures depicting their performance toward reaching certain targets and objectives. These performance measures will be tracked by the individual agencies and reported centrally for review.

The County is aiming for a range of goals by 2025, including:

  • Creating 95 fully completed miles of bikeways
  • Switching 100% of County lights to the more sustainable LED, the equivalent of taking 585 cars off the road
  • Reducing serious traffic injuries by 19%
  • Connecting an additional 130 working families with good homes
  • Reaching 120 graduated emerging entrepreneurs through the Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship space and helping them grow their business
  • Seeing a record-breaking decrease in overdose deaths in the County
  • Achieving one million rides on Regional Transit Authority (RTA) buses
  • Increasing the percentage of County operations using solar power from 2% to 20%

2)    Community Indicators provide important Howard County data to the public and to key stakeholders. The available data includes:

  • Census Reporter data
  • Domestic Migration flow
  • Age and Gender
  • Race and Ethnicity
  • Self-Sufficiency Indicators

Howard County Innovation Fund

Howard County’s first-ever, “Innovation Fund,” will be used to bring new and unique initiatives and projects that will impact the county. The Innovation Fund will consist of a total of $225,000 in funding that will be distributed through grants that will help Howard County organizations foster innovation for the public good across the county.

Qualifications for applicable projects for Innovation Fund grants:

  • Projects should be innovative and original while demonstrating how it keeps Howard County ahead of the curve.
  • Projects should support greater efficiencies that save time, increase collaboration among partners, provide the potential for long-term benefits, and generate revenue or cost savings.
  • Projects should help create a prosperous community, a livable and sustainable environment, safe neighborhoods, and a more responsive and transparent government.
  • Projects need to be feasible and measurable in order to gauge an immediate return on investment.

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I love this idea and HoCoDash will be a website I reference from time to time for future blog articles. I am a data nut so a site that provides data is awesome.

I have had only a quick glance at HoCoDash so far…and there is some interesting data available. If I had to evaluate it so far (again…very early on so I am not holding this against anyone)…I wish there was more current data in the system. Here is what I mean by that…If you go to “Safe and Engaged Communities” and click on “Property crime rate per 100,000 population” (see photo below)

You get some interesting trend data from calendar years 2016, 2017 and 2018:

If you scroll down the page and check out the detailed data by entering an address (I just picked an address at random) you get more detailed information…but for years 2015, 2016 and 2017:

This is all good historical information…but for this to be a useful tool for the community…I would like to see more up to date data in the system. Maybe that is coming in the future….I hope sooner rather than later.

Now my review is of one section of HoCoDash. There are many parts to this system and I will do my best to give it all a look over time (and I am sure it will become a regular reference point in future blog posts).

I will follow up on this story to provide more information to the readers in the near future.

Visit HoCoDash here: https://dash.howardcountymd.gov/

Scott E

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