Across nearly every sector, analyzing and applying data are essential for unleashing innovation. However, far too often, the value of data is not fully harnessed. In fact, 60% to 73% of all data within enterprises goes unused for analytics. Given the transformative power of data, tapping into and using it to drive innovation should be top priorities for organizations today.

Recently, MANTA’s Jan Ulrych, our VP of Research & Education, joined leaders across multiple sectors at the 2022 Data for Good Global Summit. The event showcased over 50 worldwide leaders who are using data to find answers to global challenges, ultimately realizing a better and more sustainable future. Ulrych moderated a panel discussion titled “Data for Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities,” in which the panelists explored data’s critical role in innovation.

Panelists included executives from Publicis Groupe, Sanofi, Voyas Financial, and the United Nations International Computing Center. Led by Ulrych, the panelists discussed the groundbreaking impact of data across industries, ethical data usage, and cross-organizational data sharing as an enabler of change. “At Data for Good,” said Ulrych, “we are talking about using data for reasons that benefit humanity, which is really amazing.”

Below are three key takeaways that emerged from their engaging, thought-provoking discussion.

New Data Applications are Constantly Emerging 

Organizations today are placing greater emphasis on exploring data usage, and the world is changing for the better as a result. With new data applications or use cases emerging every day, more positive changes are undoubtedly on the horizon.

Data as a driver of innovation is not limited to a specific vertical. In healthcare, data innovation has helped scientists make medication more accessible to consumers while in financial services, data has made it easier for organizations to comply with regulatory requirements and data security protocols. Moreover, for government entities and non-profits, data has played a role in ongoing humanitarian efforts to identify those in need and deliver assistance to them.

Ethical Decision-making is Growing in Importance

The question of what it means to be ethical is one that philosophers have grappled with for centuries. In the context of data, ethical usage depends on several factors. Ethical data usage includes obtaining consumer consent and respecting one’s right to withdraw that consent; identifying and eliminating biases within databases; and maintaining data security and integrity.

At its core, whether data usage is ethical depends on how it benefits the greater good as well as the individual. Widespread humanitarian efforts and healthcare initiatives are clear examples of global benefits, but smaller-scale data usage makes a positive difference, as well. For instance, organizations with increased visibility into their data pipelines are better able to streamline customer and user experience.

Cross-organizational Data Sharing is a Key Innovation Factor

Data sharing across organizations comes with important considerations around consumer privacy, security, and trust. It also brings with it key data innovation opportunities. A powerful example is the high level of granularity and visibility into global COVID-19 case counts. This massive amount of data continues to serve as a baseline to help scientists to make critical public health decisions. Meanwhile, employee data can uncover biases; diversity, equity and inclusion gaps; and pay discrepancies within a workforce or industry.  

A major challenge organizations face is trust. Privacy breaches have caused some consumers to be unwilling to share data that could uncover insights that drive innovation. By approaching cross-organizational data sharing ethically, organizations can maintain that trust and succeed in their innovation efforts. Moreover, an even bigger challenge is poor visibility into available data to drive positive outcomes. This is where having a comprehensive view of data, with the ability to eliminate blind spots, can make a significant difference.

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As the panel ended, all participants agreed that with the right approach, organizations can forge a deeper path into what is already proving to be an exciting era of data for the greater good.

Interested in more of our takeaways from data industry events? We’ll return with insights from the upcoming CDO and Data Leaders’ Global Summit, where we’ll host a panel discussion on Metadata Management Maturity.

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