CommonSense Blog

#SXW2O Panel: Living the Promise of Data and Innovation

By Adam Pedowitz | Mar 12, 2015

Those traveling the industry conference circuit (any industry, really) recognize that the most valuable panel discussions pull together transformative thinkers across different disciplines to arrive at deep insights. Those attending the W2O Group’s PreCommerce Summit had access to many such panels, including one that could have been called “Living the Promise of Data and Innovation,” which featured three dynamic leaders in their respective fields:

Following is an overview (presentations included) of the key points on how visionaries from a text analytics software company, an innovative government agency and the investment space combined to embody how we can all experience and live the promise of data and innovation.

Image 1Nithi Vivatrat (presentation) kicked things off by talking about “Empathy at Scale.” For years, Vivatrat has been driving the strategic vision of Clarabridge’s offerings, and he sees a new factor determining business success today: Empathy. In this context, empathy means listening to, understanding and contextualizing customer needs and conversation.

In Vivatrat’s estimation, companies who focus on customer empathy will have more success. “We need to learn to listen,” he said, “but we also need to learn to tell stories so others will listen and collaborate.” As one caveat, and where data meets innovation in this case, is that it’s important to have quantitative insight into the sentiment of relevant stakeholder conversations.

DamonDavis1Damon Davis (presentation) then took the stage to speak to goals and vision for innovation in the government sector, based on his experience at the IDEA Lab in the US Department of Health and Human Services. Davis is responsible for leading the Department’s efforts to promote the Health Data Initiative. While sharing how the government is liberating health data through that initiative on HealthData.gov, Davis provided some compelling perspectives and statistics:

  • Healthcare is 20% of GDP in the U.S.
  • Data is driving multiple aspects of healthcare. … We are working to change its default setting from closed to open
  • Data has the ability to affect issues from organ donation to reporting adverse events

When pressed about innovation in the government sector, Davis related, “From the government’s perspective, we’ve been doing things the same way for generations. We’re now focused on trying to facilitate innovation by finding creative folks and empowering them to find creative solutions.”

[We also appreciated Davis’ nod to W2O Group Data Scientist Dr. Yash Gad, who’s doing amazing things with the very data that Davis is helping to make available through MDigitalLife.]

PivotConMike Edelhart (presentation) finished the panel presentations with a peek into an innovative concept aimed at identifying companies, markets or industries that are ripe for change: The Social Disruption Index (SDI). Currently in development, the SDI takes  numerous streams of data around companies and industries to effectively map their attributes and identify areas on the brink of innovation and disruption.

It’s worth noting that Edelhart is a seasoned media and Internet start-up executive, as well as the Lead Partner for Social Starts, an early stage investment fund. So while markets and investors often believe technology is the big disruptive force, Edelhart sees things differently.

“I look at 1,500 or more start-ups each year, and people think technology is the big disruptor. But it’s not. Business model innovation is the big disruptor, because they lead to better economics. Better economics win, and tech is just one way to initiate better economics.”

While certainly valuable for investors, the SDI could be crucial for established businesses looking to innovate and adapt to market trends, as well as entrepreneurs seeking clarity into the viability of their ideas. In Edelhart’s view, the SDI will help us all understand “where change happens first, and where change happens the fastest.”

To learn more about Edelhart’s perspective on innovation, see his recent interview with Aaron Strout.

For more information on our SXW2O events and speakers, please visit our website: http://w2oevents.com