Big data can deliver big benefits for society at large

datathonBy Kent Mackenzie

Sparks can fly when you bring together good people with great ideas. And that’s the thinking behind our upcoming Datathon, which brings together hand-picked experts in data from a wide spectrum of backgrounds and professions.

The event is an intensive 24-hour exercise, running from midday 19 March to midday on 20 March. The theme for this year’s Datathon is ‘financial services for good’ and will challenge competing teams to examine how financial data can be used to tackle some of the issues facing society at large today, such as financial wellness, inclusion, and the impact not being able to understand and manage personal finances can have on mental health. When it ends each team will present their insights and concepts to a panel of judges, who will examine the quality of the concept, the overall feasibility and potential its potential to deliver something that can truly help society.

It is an exciting time to work with data. The availability of consumer data is constantly increasing, just as our ability to analyse it and how workout how it can be used for social gain is constantly improving. It can now be utilised as a problem-solving tool that offers unparalleled social insights. What’s more, big changes are afoot.

New regulations such as open banking and PDS2 are on the horizon and have the potential to dramatically alter the financial sector for good. The question that the top data scientists and fintech entrepreneurs who take part in the Datathon will have to answer is how these can be engineered to the benefit of society at large, a topic we are truly excited by and committed to.

As well as the competition, the event will feature speakers from academia, business and more with Glasgow University, Lloyds Banking Group, Castlight Financial and others all offering their perspective on the sector.

Whilst everyone wants to win, the benefits of the event go beyond that. At our inaugural Scottish Datathon last year, it quickly became clear from watching teams interact with each other started some interesting conversations. When people from different professions or backgrounds discuss how they approach the the same problem, it can generate fascinating ideas and provoke healthy debate and discussion – the benefits of which may last long after the Datathon concludes.

Concepts delivered on the day could be developed further and the connections that are made often lead to opportunities for future collaboration.

Deloitte’s Datathon is only a 24-hour event, but it has the potential to generate ideas that harness data to deliver real advantages to society as a whole.

Learn more about the upcoming Deloitte Datathon here.

Kent Mackenzie is a director at Deloitte and panellist at the Datathon.