More and more government digital services now offer a high-quality user experience, and we can all be pleasantly surprised by how simple it is to renew a passport or tax a vehicle online – one obvious benefit of data sharing.  

But what are the greater societal benefits that can be gained from expanding our aims and ambitions in Scotland? How can we build on the 2017 Digital Strategy for Scotland in order to deliver change and innovation through the effective use of data? Can we take an explainable and ethical data-driven approach to protecting the more vulnerable in society? 

It’s common to hear the word “crisis” being used to describe a wide range of problems affecting society today, climate change being one example. But there are many others, some a result of the pandemic, others such as drug deaths.

Yet crises and how we react to them can help inform how we think and react to challenges which we know can, or should, be alleviated through data sharing.

Whilst a crisis can be sudden and even unexpected, the approach to managing it doesn’t have to be. One can utilise the four C’s: cognition, communication and co-ordination, to obtain control.   

  • Cognition: Improve understanding and awareness of the problem through the integration, connection and linking of disparate information  
  • Communication: Establish consensus through a collaborative communication process across stakeholders and interested parties, informed by the data 
  • Co-ordination: Manage data and information in, or close to, real-time to enable quick and effective action and intervention, where and when it is most needed 
  • Control: Enable multi-agency coordination and utilisation of resources that are continually informed by the data to improve processes and outcomes 

We have the opportunity today to put the right information, at the right time, at the right person’s fingertips – literally on their phone or browser – and when this is done correctly it can mean the difference between life and death. 

This approach learns from the past, from the data, to analyse and then predict, but always keeps the human in the loop, augmenting and complementing human decision-making and action. 

For more on how data sharing and analysis can help to protect the most vulnerable, join me at the AI & Data session at 3:10pm at Digital Scotland on 25th November 2021.