Cutting through the white noise: breaking data silos to improve people's lives

Genevieve Bell
  • Published Date: 12 January 2018

The volume of data recorded about individuals is increasing exponentially, but how much of it is actually being used to improve people’s lives and solve complex public policy problems?

ANZSOG has joined forces with the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) for a landmark conference ‘Breaking the Data Silos: Sharing data for better policy and service delivery" bringing together the public sector, NGOs and universities to explore issues around data-sharing and how we can use data more effectively.

The conference will be held in Canberra on March 27-28, 2018. ANZSOG Dean and CEO Professor Ken Smith said that the conference was a unique opportunity to focus on the policy challenges around data and its potential to solve problems in service delivery.

“The growth in data is not going to slow down. We need to draw on the experience of our colleagues and other experts to ensure it is used as effectively as possible for public benefit,” Professor Smith said.

“Data only has value when we use it to solve problems. We need to cut through the ‘white noise’ of unanalysed data and work out how we can harness its power for the public good.”

The conference will include a range of Australian, New Zealand and international speakers, including ANU’s Professor Genevieve Bell, who brings a broad perspective including working as an anthropologist and as a vice president of information technology giant Intel.

Professor Bell is director of the Autonomy, Agency and Assurance (3A) Institute, a collaboration between ANU and CSIRO’s Data61, tasked with building a new applied science around the management of artificial intelligence, data, technology and their impact on humanity. She delivered the ABC’s Boyer Lectures in 2017.

The full speaking list is yet to be finalised, but other confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Beth Noveck, Director of GovLab at New York University, and former United States Deputy Chief Technology Officer
  • Liz MacPherson, Chief Executive at Statistics New Zealand.
  • Dr Liu Feng-Yuan, Director of Data Sciences Division, GovTech, Singapore.

The conference will discuss the need for a people-centred approach that recognises data only has value when it is used to solve problems.

Any data that has the potential to improve people’s lives – whether from government, the private sector, or the community – could be subject to expert scrutiny and lively discussion.

Participants will be challenged to think more broadly about the hidden value of data sets, and the possibilities of gathering behavioural insights from the data to get a fuller picture.

They will hear practical examples in using data analytics, behavioural insights, and design thinking, as well as an overview of the strategic challenges. They will come away with a greater understanding of the power of using people-centred data to solve problems, and pathways to more effective collaboration.

The growth in data shows no signs of slowing down. We need to draw on the experience of our colleagues and other experts to ensure it is used as effectively as possible for public benefit.  

Interested in Breaking The Data Silos? Registrations are now open.