Building Quality Data Products – A States for the Future Community Resource

States for the Future is excited to share its newest Network Resource: Building Quality Data Products. 

As data-driven policy organizations, one of the most effective ways to impact policy conversations happening in our states is by making data and analysis accessible and meaningful to decision makers and community members. 

Quality data products—such as dashboards, infographics, dynamic data visualizations, calculators, simulators, interactive maps, etc.—can serve as a starting point for shared facts, bring clarity to complex problems, and support policy analysis and goals. 

But creating quality data products requires organizations to invest in not only the build, but also ongoing maintenance and efforts to drive adoption and use of a data product.  In this resource, we discuss the Purpose, People, Build, and Action best practices that can lead to success, as well as tips, resources, and links to other products peers have created for inspiration. 

Leveraging the expertise of States for the Future organizations and Network partners Ajah and January Advisors, Building Quality Data Products builds on the robust conversations during our “Building Data Products” breakout session at our 2024 Annual Convening in Tempe, Arizona. In this session, and in many of our monthly virtual community discussions, Network members have discussed the common challenges and considerations that nonprofit, data-driven policy organizations face when making decisions about building data products. This network resource attempts to address many of those questions, including:

  • Should I create a data product? What type of data product should I create?
  • What should I look for in a vendor?
  • Will people use my data product?

We would love your feedback on this Community Resource! If you have any comments or want to brainstorm on your own data product, please let us know at

Planning an Organization-to-Organization Knowledge Sharing Session

We don’t know what we don’t know 

When we’re heads down in the day-to-day work of our own organizations, it can be easy to lose sight of new ways of thinking or different approaches to solving similar problems. One of the greatest benefits of participating in a Network is to learn through collaboration and knowledge sharing with other organizations that have similar missions. 

Leveraging cross-state collaboration to drive collective change

Collaboration among organizations working in different states and contexts can be a powerful force toward developing solutions at a national level, and can also help us advance our own local efforts. Systemic challenges are not bound by state borders, and they demand solutions that are enriched by a diversity of viewpoints and experiences. By collectively pooling expertise and ideas, we can craft strategies to better address systemic challenges. Through cross-state collaboration and knowledge sharing, organizations can tap into a broader range of insights and solutions, build connections, and learn from each other’s journeys to drive collective change.

What do you want to know right now that will help you do your job better?

Have you ever asked questions like:

  • I really like the report that organization just released. I wonder what it took to produce it?
  • What’s the secret behind organization X’s success?
  • We share a lot in common with that organization. I wonder if we could partner together on an upcoming research effort.?
  • How can I improve my nonprofit’s operations, funding, and governance?

However broad or specific your questions are,others are thinking the same thing.

Enter Shop Talk: organization-to-organization knowledge sharing sessions for organizational acceleration

Organization-to-organization (org-to-org) knowledge sharing sessions (org-to-org) facilitate candid discussions driven by curiosity. They nurture a culture of learning, collaboration, and empathy with one another, with the aim to develop solutions that lead to better outcomes for individual states, and ultimately, our nation as a whole.

Unleashing success through collaboration

Collaboration and knowledge sharing fuel innovation in every organization. Below are real stories attesting to the power of collaboration. 

Organizations involved in States for the Future have been collaborating and learning from one another formally and informally from the start. Whether it’s two organizations coming together for a virtual summit to share about their respective work, or a group of individuals from many organizations gathering to discuss a specific topic, opportunities for cross-pollination and collective innovation is one way States for the Future creates value.

Texas 2036 learned of the important work that Center for the Future of Arizona (CFA) has led in collaboration with Gallup on the Arizona We Want poll. CFA was similarly curious about how Texas 2036 developed its legislative agenda and strategic plan and policy priorities.. A knowledge sharing session ensued with key functional leads from the communications, data, strategy, and programming arms of both organizations participating. 

“We regularly conduct public opinion polling of Texas voters to understand their priorities and concerns. The Center for the Future of Arizona “The Arizona We Want” project captured our attention given the significant scale, scope, and depth of their efforts to understand their fellow residents values, attitudes, and expectations. We were also impressed by how they used the results to identify and champion areas of consensus. . Seeing what CFA achieved was eye-opening, and spurred our thinking on ways to approach our own activities with fresh perspectives.”

Justin Coppedge, Texas 2036, Texas state

Other organizations that are part of States for the Future had one-on-one meetings to learn more about one another’s data products, indicator frameworks, and operations.

“We have leveraged so much from the January meeting – our conversations with the teams from Colorado and Arizona have been incredibly impactful. It’s valuable having leaders across states talk about the value of the Network and it lends credibility to our work by being a part of this Network.” 

Erika Borg, AWB Institute, Washington state

Ready for meaningful conversation?

Explore our step-by-step guide to set up your own org-to-org knowledge sharing session. Don’t know how to begin? There are plenty of fish in the sea, and we can help to get you started! If you have questions, would like to get connected to others on a particular topic, or would like to have an initial conversation with us, reach out to us at

Together, let’s leverage the power of collaboration and knowledge sharing to be force multipliers for our individual work and build a more sustainable future across the nation.