Posted: 07 Sep. 2020 10 min. read

Building trust through data: Introducing Deloitte’s Data Spotlight Series

This year, Deloitte’s Risk Analytics team are introducing the first ever Data Spotlight Series – a sequence of webinars on the topic of how businesses, organisations and individuals can help build trust through data. This will be a series of talks unlike many others, as it is the continuation of an ongoing discussion our team has been having on the impact of businesses and other organisations on our society. It was also inspired by the cancellation of our Datathon this year, which you may have already heard about. In case you haven’t, let me tell you about what happened.

Just over three years ago, Deloitte organised its first ever Datathon in Scotland. The event consisted of two days where people of various backgrounds would come together and form teams to develop innovative solutions to a common problem, while looking through a data and analytics lens. In 2017, the Datathon was all about increasing Financial Inclusion, making financial services accessible to disadvantaged populations who may need them. Needless to say, the event was a huge success, which was evidenced over the next few years, as the Datathon became a yearly tradition.

After joining Deloitte, I quickly started associating March with the high energy of hosting yet another one of these events. Each year, our office became a melting pot of ideas and conversations about innovative business models and data analytics (and yes, some of us really geek-ed out talking about statistics). In 2018 we were exploring the idea of “Financial Services for Good” and in 2019 the theme was “Productivity”. These events were always hugely inspiring not only because of the participating teams’ impressive efforts over the two days of the event, but also because of the high calibre of speakers accompanying them during our presentations evening.

This year, our team our team was getting ready for our fourth Datathon – the theme would be “Building trust to create a more responsible society” and it was scheduled to start on the 10th March. We were only a week away from the event, when covid-19 unfortunately became a reality in the UK and we made the very difficult decision of cancelling what we were expecting to be another exceptional gathering.

As the year passed, we kept thinking about the purpose we had behind our Datathon this year. Our team has been noticing a trend of businesses changing how they define corporate and social responsibility, moving towards building brands which can be trusted by their customers. One of our biggest questions was: if brands are now a way of conveying trustworthiness towards a business or an organisation, then how do their purpose and role in contributing to society translate into data initiatives? This was one of the questions we were ready to present to our Datathon participants in March, which with time we realised is increasingly important question to be asking right now.

While there is a movement towards increasing involvement of businesses in tackling societal challenges, governments are also re-thinking how they can become more effective at doing so. Covid-19 has made these shifts more urgent than ever, and while new initiatives are important, we also want to keep people who are already working towards creating a better society running. We can see that we have to go beyond just creating trust within customers and move into understanding how purpose is translated into real change, and data is a big piece of this puzzle. So we decided to keep the conversation going.

To facilitate the conversation, we will now introduce our first Data Spotlight series: “Building Trust Through Data” – a series of webinars we will be hosting over the upcoming weeks. Our first speaker will be Professor Roger Halliday, who is the Chief Statistician & Joint Head of COVID-19 Modelling and Analysis Team for the Scottish Government. Could we get a more appropriate start?

Our first will talk about how the government set up a new organisation to “make it easier to access and use data for the public good”, as well as how their newly  built capabilities have been leveraged to improve the government’s response to the Covid pandemic in Scotland. Professor Halliday is keen to share some of his reflections around running Covid-related modelling and leading an analytics team within the Government, all invaluable lessons to anyone interested in enabling change within their organisation, as well as anyone interested in getting an insight into the real power of data.

We will be announcing more speakers in the upcoming days, but let me tell you this is already shaping up to be an exceptional series of talks. Our whole team is really looking forward to hearing what our speakers have to say and to keep driving the conversation forwards, so I would really encourage you to keep an eye on our events page and to join us on the 16th September, between 1 and 2 p.m. (BST) – you can register here.

See you there!

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