The 100 Questions' logo

Unless we define the questions well...
to unlock the potential of data and Data Science
how can we provide answers that matter?

What is the
100 Questions Initiative?

The 100 Questions Initiative seeks to map the world’s 100 most pressing, high-impact questions that could be answered if relevant datasets were leveraged in a responsible manner. The 100 Questions is an Initiative from The GovLab, in partnership with Schmidt Futures and others.

Why do we need 100 questions?

The complexity of challenges facing our world today - from climate change to the reinvention of work to economic inequality to mass migration - is unprecedented, and our policymaking and problem-solving approaches are insufficient. We need both innovative solutions and innovation in how we develop solutions.

Data held by private-sector entities can be leveraged to provide public value

Data has been widely recognized as a possible source of innovation, and data collaboratives offer a particularly promising avenue. Data collaboratives are a new form of public-private partnership, in which data held by private-sector entities is leveraged in a responsible and ethical manner to provide public value.

Data held by private-sector entities can be leveraged to provide public value

The 100 Questions will help us understand the questions that matter

Yet despite the clear potential of private-sector data, its impact has been limited to date. This is primarily because we don’t fully understand how it can best be used. We don’t have an authoritative list of challenges facing our society that would be amenable to data solutions. This is where the 100 Questions come in. The 100 Questions will help us understand our most important public dilemmas and the most vexing problems we face across sectors and geographies. They will help us establish priorities, so that we may make the most of scarce public resources.

How will we source
100 Questions?

We will capture the 100 Questions by creating and sourcing curated communities of “bilinguals” from around the world – practitioners across fields who possess both domain knowledge and data science expertise. In particular, our methodology comprises the following:


What will the 100
Questions cover?

The 100 Questions Initiative will seek to identify the most pressing questions across domains and around the world including, but not limited to:

How can you get involved?

  • Bilingual
  • Problem Owner
  • Funding & Resource Partners
  • Data Steward

Individuals combining both domain knowledge and data science expertise who would like to improve people’s lives and solve public problems by leveraging data and data science.

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Organizations working to solve a domain-specific problem that could benefit from data, and in particular access to private sector data can help identify the questions that matter.

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Organizations interested in funding or providing other resources to help define key questions, build data collaboratives, or invest in developing a sophisticated question-discovery methodology.

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Responsible data leaders from the private (and public) sector seeking new ways to create public value through cross-sector data collaborations to ensure that the 100 Questions lead to actionable answers.

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Institutional Partners

Domain Partners


Domain Partners




Air Quality

Air Quality

Advisory Board

  • Ciro Cattuto

    Scientific Director
  • Denice Ross

    Fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation
  • Gabriella Gómez-Mont

    Founder and former Director
  • Matthew Salganik

    Professor of Sociology
  • Molly Jackman

    Director of Research
  • Vivienne Ming

  • Wilfred Ndifon

    Director of Research

About the GovLab

The Governance Lab (GovLab), based at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, seeks to improve people’s lives by changing how we govern using new technologies. In recent years, The GovLab has pioneered the concept and practice of Data Collaboratives and has initiated a network of Data Stewards – decision-makers from across the private sector seeking ways to maximize the public value of their company’s data. The 100 Questions Initiative builds on The GovLab’s Smarter Crowdsourcing methodology that seeks to match societal problems with diverse ideas from curated global experts. The 100 Questions Initiative will take a similar but updated approach to engage relevant bilinguals across domains and around the world.

Team Members