Finding Effective Solutions Through Community Data

We are creating a national movement to bring data in service of our communities to enable the public good. Through Community Learning Data-Driven Discovery (CLD3) expert analysts engage with local leaders, helping them solve social problems using all of their available information.

community meeting

Overview: What is CLD3?

Our society is experiencing a data revolution. Communities are generating information in greater quantity, detail, and variety than ever before. The tools needed to harness this resource are at our fingertips, yet their use for advancing the public good continues to lag behind.

To break down the barriers between communities and the data they need, we have established a new initiative, formed through the collective efforts of the Social Decision Analytics Laboratory, the Virginia Cooperative Extension, and Iowa State University. We call this transformative process Community Learning Data-Driven Discovery, or CLD3.

CLD3 begins by establishing an open forum to help local leaders classify critical issues facing their community. Through an ongoing discovery process, pooling the knowledge and resources of regional experts, we then identify cross-cutting information sources capable of serving the mutual needs of our partner agencies. Finally, we analyze statistical trends and location-specific data to inform the development of new policy solutions.

Our Process: Enabling Data-Driven Governance

The CLD3 process helps leaders leverage all of their available information to solve pressing problems in their communities. By partnering with our expert analysts, organizations can find areas of overlap in the issues they face, securely share their data resources, and develop effective, long-term solutions.

sdal research team

The end result: Leaders learn to use all of the information at their disposal to make positive changes in their community and inform their decision-making moving forward. In short, we empower our partners to practice data-driven governance.

  • Collaboration – CLD3 provides a common forum for public decision-makers to share the questions that keep them up at night. In defining the critical issues facing their community, leaders are introduced to a network of local collaborators with a common interest in tackling complex problems.
  • Efficiency – Through CLD3, partner organizations can identify individually maintained data resources that serve their mutual needs. Information that would have been siloed within a single department is “liberated,” freed for use throughout our communities to address concerns that cut across multiple public programs.
  • Empowerment – Our data-driven approach empowers decision-makers to use their resources where they can do the most good. Public outreach strategies can be vetted in advance using the latest experimental design principles or adapted on the fly through a process of continuous evaluation.

Getting Started

Want to learn more about how CLD3 can benefit your community? Here are a few simple steps to help you get started.

  • Explore Our Impact - Our CLD3 pilot program across communities in Virginia has already yielded some exciting results. These projects demonstrate how many aspects of our communities can be improved through data-driven governance.
  • See the Big Picture - Director Sallie Keller has a grand vision for how CLD3 can be applied in communities across the country. Download our vision statement to get the full story.
  • Contact Our Team - Ready to collaborate? Still have questions about the CLD3 process? Get in touch with our team at We'll do our best to respond within one business day.


  1. S. Keller, V. Lancaster, S. Shipp. (2017). Building Capacity for Data-Driven Governance: Creating a New Foundation for Democracy. Statistics and Public Policy, DOI: 10.1080/2330443X.2017.1374897
  2. Keller, Sallie; Shipp, Stephanie; Korkmaz, Gizem; et al. Harnessing the power of data to support community-based research. WIREs Comput Stat. 2018.
  3. Keller, S., Nusser, S., Shipp, S., Woteki, C.  Using Data to Make Better Decisions. Issues in Science and Technology, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (2018)

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