A question that is on the forefront of many discussions in Davos this year is how do we create inclusive growth amidst a volatile environment fraught with global risks? The problems are common and shared by governments and businesses around the world; how can they develop strategies to rebalance, identify long-term opportunities for sustainable growth, and provide an environment where innovations and new business models can be cultivated? How can they respond faster and in more economical ways to the needs of citizens and consumers?
The answers may be right at our fingertips.
While the economic complexity and challenges have been growing, another area has also been growing – and growing exponentially. I’m referring to the amount of data being generated every minute of every day. The ongoing digital revolution has resulted in the generation of data in vast quantities, most of which is captured by commercial or public organizations.
Every swipe of a credit card, every click of a mouse, every grocery item scanned, every comment posted online, all add to the massive data pile referred to as big data. Personal location data is exploding worldwide as well because of the availability of GPS systems embedded in mobile devices. If we realize that data is an asset, then we can also realize the importance of analytics to uncovering the answers that lie within this new asset class.
Today’s hyper-connected world continues to accelerate the speed of change and, combined with big data and the social media development, has the potential to enable a data-driven transformation of the public sector and, in essence, all other sectors as well.
Growing deficits combined with increased volatility and heightened fragility will force change. Converging transformational changes such as analytics will allow for accelerated pace of innovation and increasingly empower us to draw on the collective knowledge. In this way, hyper-connectivity is a catalyst for growth. Economic growth and social benefits can be driven through the use of technologies such as analytics that innovate off and leverage from the collective knowledge and big data.
The WEF report, “Personal Data” calls personal data the new oil – a valuable resource of the 21st century, a position that I concretely support. It is my belief that analyzing large, hyper-connected data sources will close the gap between how much knowledge is available and how much value can be gleaned from them.
The real value comes when analytics is applied to the new, unstructured data sources, combined with traditional data, to help make knowledge-based decisions that will benefit organizations, stakeholders and the broader global economy. We have the data at our fingertips; it’s time we recognize the value that lies therein to improve and sustain our quality of life.