Green Bay entrepreneur uses data integration to provide complete picture.
Consider these challenges. Maybe it’s a school district trying to achieve better graduation rates. Perhaps it’s a community working to resolve a problem with homelessness. Programs are put in place to assist; often many different agencies are involved.
Then there’s the question. How does this entity know what’s working?
This is the question that entrepreneur Adam Hardy of Green Bay wants to answer. As the owner of Future State, Hardy is helping communities and organizations by using Collective Impact, a best practice model for community transformation. He believes the answer is in the data. "There is usually no mechanism in place to show how the various programs are working," Hardy said.
While working as executive director of Achieve Brown County, he obtained grants to pursue collaboration of data systems — getting agencies involved in sharing information. In the process, he built relationships and become an advocate of Collective Impact.
"I said I would go in and build a data system to look at this," he said. "It turned out to be very expensive, but it allowed me to put together three health systems and answer the questions on how these services were working."
Then, while attending a conference in Seattle, he met an executive from Microsoft who was involved in case management technology. He and Hardy clicked and the executive encouraged him to pursue the work he was doing as a business.
"We talked back and forth, and I crafted a plan with the help of a Microsoft director of analytics," Hardy said. "The plan is to create sophistication around using data to improve business practices."
While the exact nature of his business may be difficult to understand, Hardy summarizes it by saying that it is about the ability to measure data to find out if a program is working.
"Unlike a business where you can measure within an organization, you have so many partners, or silos, that it is difficult to figure out what’s happen-ing," Hardy said. "You need a system to bring that together and create a complete picture."
The ultimate goal, he added, is to combine information between programs, share best practices and see what is working. The system will require the development of software, and Hardy has a company working on that end of it. His piece is the relationship component, and with a strong background in marketing, he leverages this strength by networking and connecting.
"The best marketing at this point is direct contact," Hardy said. "There will be a role for more traditional marketing, but the key is that you have several hundred of these prospective clients out there and the best way to reach them is to go to conferences and get out in the communities."
As he does, he also engages investors, and has had mentors from Titletown Tech, Green Bay SCORE, AI Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Technology Council and Digital Fertilizer.
There is agreement that Hardy is on to something, but that it is also something that is being pursued by other companies. It is a race against the clock to be one of the first to come up with a viable, accepted system.
"There is no central source of the truth," Hardy said. "The ecosystem includes data providers giving data, data consumers and payers. The payers out there are at their wits’ end when it comes to investing in these systems. They’ve been investing, investing and investing and they want to know why."
He wants to provide the why, and while the clock ticks, faces three main challenges — technical, legal and adaptive.
"There isn’t a lot of competition yet, but I know this stuff is coming. I have about 18 months to do this," Hardy said. "There is a ravenous interest in this."
While most of the technology is developing on the east and west coasts, Hardy hopes to stay rooted in Green Bay because of his ties to the community. His goal is to be "battle-tested" in a year with his product being used by no fewer than five communities. Within five years, he wants to be a major player in integration work.
Tina Dettman-Bielefeldt is co-owner of DB Commercial Real Estate in Green Bay and past district director for SCORE, Wisconsin.