SOCIETY | Sep 29, 2016

Ingenium: the data at the center of digital transformation

Innovation calls culture of data, information and knowledge

Often, too often, when someone points to the moon we end up focusing on the finger. In the same way, thinking about digital transformation, drones, 3D printers, digital manufacturing systems, and so on and so forth, come to mind. Too bad, though, that we risk losing sight of the real essence of things. That without which, beyond the special effects and technological wonders that sometimes seem to have the same effect on the thoughtless innovator as colored marbles for the Indians (sorry, for Native Americans), nothing would work. That which is at the basis of everything: the data.

No innovation and digital transformation, concepts and themes about which we speak so much (too much) today, could exist if we did not base ourselves on the need to manage data to create information and generate knowledge. The first victims of the digital transformation are those, the thoughtless innovators to be specific, who are convinced or allows themselves to be convinced by shady druids of the screwdriver that innovation starts from technologies. Nothing could be more wrong.

Innovation starts from our ability to analyze processes, markets, trends and people.

It starts from our ability to read the context and understand the direction. Sometimes it starts from the ability to anticipate change.

And to anticipate change, data, information and knowledge are necessary. Those data, that information and that knowledge which are often the main concern of organizations – from the simplest to the most complex – which realize that the management of these elements is a strategic driver, but rarely manage to really focus on the problem. A bit because the colored beads are more attractive and make more of a show, a bit because the first reaction to the most serious problems is often an indecisive phenomenon of removal. Deep down, a bit because it is difficult to admit that at a time when we should be talking about how the digital transformation is changing the meaning of things we are still stuck in thinking about the automation of processes. Those same processes which, while we attempt to automate them, have changed completely, with the disheartening results of automating, at best, extinct processes.

In short, to really talk about innovation and digital transformation, it is impossible not to start from the substance of things: data.

The way in which they can and should be processed for extracting information. The ways in which this information is transformed into knowledge.

Big Data, Social Media, Internet of Things, Industry 4.0 and Sharing Economy are all realities (and some buzzword) that revolve around this simple, fundamental and too often ignored point.

For this reason, Engineering and Tech Economy have decided to develop a new editorial project, Ingenium: a name known to those who rotate around the world of Engineering which, with this initiative, renews from a network point of view an experience that is part of its tradition, conscious of the fact that the tradition is nothing more than innovation that has been successful.

Ingenium is a spin off of Tech Economy dedicated entirely to the topic of the culture of the data.

In the coming months, along with Ingenium, we will develop a path of knowledge and analysis of the central issues related to the data and its management. We will speak about the role of the Chief Data Officer. We will interview the most important experts. We will recount the experiences of success and failures from which to learn. We will do this by seeking – as usual – to develop an open discussion, without too many technicalities, designed as much for focusing on and articulating opinions and experts’ views as for representing a point of reference for those who need to understand what it means to develop a process of digital transformation implemented by starting from the basics. The goal is to become a useful tool for those who must introduce the culture of the data to a company, constituting a point of encounter, discussion and debate in which everyone can share their experience and draw from that of others. All the best!

Stefano Epifani