28 April 2023
By Carole Rizkallah Alsharabati, Research Director
The success of humankind consists in our ability to share and recombine knowledge. Without access to diverse sources of data to be used as a basis for deliberation and creative problem solving, advancement becomes painfully slow.
Suliman S. Olayan School of Business at AUB’s conference on #WomenInDataScience yesterday was a great exchange of ideas among outstanding Arab women who’re using data in new and innovative ways to address our most pressing challenges.
Whether seeking to tackle inefficiency, favoritism and fraud, or to prevent disasters and save lives, access to information is the starting point.
Many ‘leaders’ don’t want to roll-out technologies and practices that allow data to be easily accessed, shared and analyzed by a broad range of users because of the transparency and accountability it brings.
The women I spoke alongside yesterday are making these mostly male leaders a dying breed: dinosaurs who’ve not grasped that the complexity and uncertainty of today’s global challenges require us to open up access to data and collaborate.
There are risks in #datademocratization, of course (security, privacy for example), but information silos and a reluctance to invest in managing these risks comes at the price of stifling innovation and progress.
In Lebanon, where some state institutions and civil society organizations have taken a calculated and well managed leap toward data democratization, the payoff has been great. Where would Lebanon be today had there not been a platform in place to fairly and transparently manage its covid vaccination process, or the distribution of aid to needy households, for example?
So here’s to going forward, and a checklist for the coming. We must all push for:
- Clear policies (rules, governance + accountability) supporting access to information and data democratisation
- Training, support and data literacy
- User-friendly tools to process and analyze data
- Data accuracy through proper data governance and data quality management practices
- Data privacy and security, while fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making
P.S My slides from my talk ‘Transforming the Public Sector with Technology and Artificial Intelligence’ are available below. For the more technically minded, there are an additional four slides at the end that go into a bit more detail about the technologies behind some of our core products at Siren Analytics and Siren Associates.