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The Shortlist

At the Semi-Final on 15 May, nine teams presented their ideas and answered the judges’ questions.

At the judges’ meeting following the presentations, the judges selected four teams to move forwards to the Final. These ideas are:


Use ‘process mining’ to streamline transactional services

Drawing on records tracking the operation of public sector transactional services, ‘process mining’ identifies bottlenecks, common errors and other weak points, enabling managers to re-engineer systems, apply new technologies and better target resources. Trialling on immigration or passport services, the program will hone the technique and demonstrate its benefits for public servants and citizens.


Create a real-time bed availability tool for the homeless

Pulling together data on the availability of beds for homeless people at a regional level, and matching individuals with suitable accommodation, this tool will help those in need find a place to stay. Addressing a growing humanitarian crisis, it will much improve the health and wellbeing of homeless individuals while ensuring that public and voluntary sector resources are used as efficiently as possible.


Analyse existing data to better target energy efficiency spending

The Canadian government funds work to improve homes’ energy efficiency, involving the commissioning of energy audits, energy modelling for multi-unit residences, and the submission of invoices for improvement works. By combining these sets of information, managers could track the impact of spending on emissions, compare the value for money of different investments, and improve program design for the future.


Provide common data definitions and tools to aid analysis and collaboration

When comparing datasets, public servants lack a universal set of definitions and formats – even for core information such as departmental names and street addresses. Data owners and specialists would also benefit from access to a common set of table and graph tools, pulling in datasets in real time. This project will explore how best to improve the data management tools available to public servants across government.

In a statement issued after the Semi-Final, the judging panel said: “Choosing four teams to shortlist was extremely difficult. We were highly impressed by the quality of the presentations, all nine of which clearly rested on excellent teamwork, thorough research, a great deal of expertise, and a huge amount of hard work. 

“Even where we can’t take an idea forward to the Final, we’ll be exploring the potential to build on that team’s research and development. To these teams, thank you very much for all your work; we really hope that you have enjoyed participating, and come away with new skills and contacts. 

“Finally, congratulations to the shortlisted teams! Good luck with your research, and remember that help is available if you encounter obstacles along the way: reach out to the Data Challenge team, and we’ll do what we can to assist. We look forward to seeing you at the Final in October!”

For more details, read our news coverage.