Helping government make the right decisions – Dot Loves Data’s Government Director on what’s behind their Covid-19 Response Dashboard

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Cat Mules

I asked Government Director of Dot Loves Data, Justin Lester, about their Covid-19 Response Dashboard that’s being used by ACC, MBIE and other decision makers in their agenda setting amid the disruption.


“we made it legible and accessible to all people, not just analysts or scientists”


DDI Dot Dot Dash dashboard DLD

(The Covid-19 Response Dashboard’s Dynamic Deprivation Index)

What’s its goal?

To give an evidence basis to decision makers in local government and business. Making sure people get the right information with detailed but accessible forecasting over different scenarios. It tells us, who’s doing well? Who’s doing poorly? What’s changing?

People can’t just rely on anecdote – they want to be able to trust their gut and have a foundational basis for decisions about where to direct their efforts. This is the focus of all of our dashboards.

What does it measure?

It measures and forecasts rates of Covid-19 and assesses what this might mean for communities, as well as who might be most vulnerable due to age, ability, health, industry.

We draw on a detailed range of local and international metrics, with a big focus on economic well-being and deprivation. For example, the level of people in employment, household income, rent levels, internet access – it all changes on a regular basis, so how do we map it?

Covid-19 has big health and financial implications. At this point in time, some 3,961 New Zealanders are still going to get infected. If we have incursions by opening the borders, more than 2 million people will be symptomatic.  We’d have 17 hospitalisations per currently available hospital bed. This scenario tracking is key for decision makers to figure out the best ways to avoid this happening.

Our range of dashboards are intended to bring data up to date, too. A census every five years is simply not enough.

Who can use it?

Anyone. It’s built to deliver these key insights to all decision makers, in the public sector, but also private business.

What’s the role of technology?

We use Microsoft Power BI to make data highly accessible to the users. It is embedded throughout the program, and we’ve built a portal with which it can be displayed. People want data to be legible. It’s all good having a spreadsheet of data in front of you but not if you can’t make sense of the stories, or people can’t understand what this means for them in their daily lives.

Reach out to Dot Loves Data and see what else they’re working on at

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Cat Mules

Umbrellar's Digital Journalist, coming from a background in tech reporting and research. Cat's inspired by the epic potential of tech and helping kiwi innovators share their success stories.


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Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world.

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We build data products. We’re a mix of data scientists, data engineers and marketers. We keep things simple, smart and beautiful and that can be the difference between winning and losing.

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Helping government make the right decisions – Dot Loves Data's Government Director on what's behind their Covid-19 Response Dashboard.

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