Association for the Anthropology of Policy
Oral Presentation Session
One crystallization of the vision for the so-called ‘data driven society’ is the management cockpit. In the words, of one of my interlocutors, a financial manager in a Danish municipality, the cockpit would be like ‘placing yourself in the front-seat, exactly like in a car. There is a speed indicator, tachometer, fuel gauge and altimeter, if it is a plain’. In the manager’s cockpit various aggregations of data is on display; selected, produced and designed for easy access and overview, to enable better executive decision-making. So, on the face of it, it would seem like the data frenzy thrives across the Danish public sector. However, Danish municipal managers experience an increasing cross pressure: on the one hand they need to foster digitalization and smarter and more effective use of data, and on the other hand they are in charge of organizations with working habits, set procedures and IT systems. While at one level, employees and managers struggle to make the basic operation and infrastructure work and to fill the gaps in the data sets, at another level, and I would be inclined to say at the top management level, the big data promises sweep the corridors. There is an ‘old’ and a ‘new’ around data and data practices in the Danish municipalities, and these are entangled in different ways and configure the different data experiments that take place in the public organizations today.