Data driven innovation VS privacy: time to create new opportunities

The data driven revolution is upon us

Steam, electricity, connectivity. They all have something in common. They’ve been key enablers for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd industrial revolution respectively. After learning how to move goods around, manufacture things at pace, turn the lights on, and get instantaneous access to information from everywhere, we are now witnessing the explosion of another revolution: this time it’s data driven. The amount of data that has been generated in the last two years alone has been more than ever in man’s lifetime of this planet. It is taking us towards global digitalisation, providing better logistics, better customer management, and improving efficiency of the supply chain[1].

Data, personal data included, is an important asset. That is why, on November 6th, we attended Personal Information Economy (PIE 2017)[2]. It was a conference organised by Ctrl-Shift with the intention of sharing and discussing trends and best practise on value creation around personal data together with companies and organisations including Call Credit, Facebook, BBC, Open Data Institute, Information Commissioner’s Office and others.

Nowadays, companies are gathering a startling amount of personal information from the data that we generate daily through social networks, our smartphones, time on the web or even by walking into places we are visiting. It embeds the way we interact with each other, our desires, preferences, and essentially, it can describe us better than we could ever. On one hand, the consequences of using data to study and profile us without our explicit consent could cause the collapse of trust in the society. However, on the other hand, our expectations as customers are constantly increasing, prompting businesses to personalise solutions through effective use of our personal data.

That in mind, the trend at the conference centred around how companies and customers are starting to interact with each other, moving towards a shift in which the control of personal information is transferred back to the customer. Data-driven innovation, control and transparency have to work hand in hand to promote trust between businesses and customers so that a sustainable ecosystem around data can be created. This shift also means that companies need to collaborate with competitors and learn how to work together so that data can flow seamlessly according to the customer’s preferences.

New key technology enablers such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain are unlocking revolutionary ways to create more effective and efficient relations between customers and businesses. These technologies are an opportunity for businesses looking to provide their customers with real-time interactions and more personalised content, as well as more transparency on how their personal data is used, how it is processed and by whom it is accessed. Actions that they hope will ultimately improving customers’ trust and their experience. Thus, regulations defining how businesses must handle personal data, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), can be seen not only as a compliance issue, but also as a competitive opportunity to create more value for customers. This, in turn, will unlock new revenue streams and return on investment for businesses. Because these technologies are moving so quickly, they are going to create winners and losers. It’s time to accelerate right now as we move toward completely new ways of using personal information to create value. The emergency of Savvy Consumers[1] confirms that the winners will be those embracing more transparency in how they use customers data and redesigning the process of collecting data to be more user-centric.

As part of our work in Personal Data and Trust here at Digital Catapult we have designed Personal Data Receipts to provide transparency and better communicate privacy policies. Companies will get GDPR-ready (mandated by May 2018), while demonstrating to customers and users that they take their privacy seriously. The net result of which is that customers, going forward, will better understand their personal data is being used and manage it better.

If you want to know more about Personal Data Receipts, click here.


Angelo Capossele

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