Now, I’m going to try and get through this blog without the phrase ‘Data is the new oil’. Every conference with any link to data science and financial services will have at least one speaker (if not more) that will utter these words to try and express the true value now being placed on data.
Even though this phrase is becoming something of a cliché, there is something behind it. For years, data has been collected and stored in a wide range of formats over millions of systems across the globe – even going as far back as 18,000 BCE where tally sticks were used as a method of recording data.
Only now, are we starting to use these massive stores of data to unlock insight and trends that previously wouldn’t have been noticed or found through a variety of data manipulation techniques and data science approaches. Data scientist and others are now performing data storytelling – bringing real human interaction and interpretation to the data.
Data storytelling is the key behind using this data to provide insights that will drive a new product or solution. One way that Data manipulation, data science and data storytelling can be celebrated is through a Datathon, a data focused Hackathon which promotes the practical uses of data.
Our recent Deloitte Datathon, our second annual event and official fringe event of DataFest 18, done just that. The event welcomed five teams, with participants with a variety of backgrounds from across Scotland, to compete in our ‘Financial Services for Good’ 24 hour Datathon Challenge.
With the growing availability of consumer data through new regulations such as open banking and PSD2, we challenged our teams to establish a meaningful link between financial services data and trends in other areas that underpin social wellbeing.
Through 24 hours of data formatting, data visualisations and KitKat eating, our challengers came up with five separate products to tackle the issue, fully backed up by almost 40 open data sets provided to them. As well as prizes for best use of data and most innovative idea, our top prize of ‘Overall Winner’ went to Data Nation. The team designed an app to help people make sound financial decisions at all the key stages in their life, including when they move into a home or get married. FinTastic would offer advice based on user data in the form of a Chatbot and generate tailor-made financial plans, average spending, comparisons for products and personal spending and terminology for financial education.
Data Nation, who won a mentoring session with Phil Grady the CEO of Castlight Financial, based their concept around tackling statistics they uncovered revealing 23 million people feel they have not had financial advice when they need it most, and over a quarter of people (28%) find making financial decisions challenging.
The team were thrilled to win after being crowned worthy winners by our panel of esteemed judges including Phil Grady, CEO Castlight Financial, Loral Quinn, co-found of Sustainably and Bijna Dasani of Lloyds Banking Group.
What was crucial to the success of our winning teams was not just their analysis of the data, but the practical application of this insight into creating a true story that led to a viable product that could really make a difference in Financial Services finding new ways to help their customers through data.
The event has been a real practical example of the power of data – it only took 24 hours and a handful of open data, along with the power of teamwork & storytelling to develop five unique & truly life-changing solutions. These solutions could be invaluable to those who truly need the help of financial services to tackle their social, health and financial wellbeing problems. This wouldn’t have been possible without the data, Data really is the new enabler – to a more informed future where financial services can provide help and support for all.
Well Done Data Nations and everyone who took part in this year’s Datathon. We look forward to seeing you next year for a challenge that will no doubt be even bigger and better.