Driving data-driven innovation at CeBIT

CeBIT is the worlds biggest IT-fair, attracting world leaders to make an annual pilgrimage to the Hannover Fair Grounds. This year, UK Prime Minister David Cameron joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the opening event. We came to advance the agenda of Data-Driven innovation.

In Germany, data all too often often is seen in a negative light. We believe it can be, properly used, a powerful motor for economic and social progress. We Accenture and Acatech that produced a report on Data-Driven Innovation, which was handed over during the fair to Chancellor Merkel. German corporate heavyweights including Deutsche Bahn, Deutsche Post, Siemens, Miele, Deutsche Telekom, SAP, and Thyssen-Krupp participated as well. The report’s conclusion was clear: Germany needs to embrace the value of data to remain competitive.

Data is not just a dry well of numbers. It can be used in exciting, dramatic and artistic ways as well. We partnered with CODE_n to run a DatenDialog in a hall surrounded by 50 start-ups under the topic of “driving the data revolution”. Artists Kram/Weisshaar visualized data from the Ngram viewer on a wall of 80mx20m, showcasing our partnership with the Bavarian State Library to digitise its priceless book collection.

Another priority for us at CeBIT was digital safety and literacy - closing the gap between the comfortable-with-Internet and the left-out less-comfortable-with-Internet. Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière visited the booth of our NGO partner Deutschland sicher im Netz and learned about our joint initiative "Digital Neighborhood." It consists of a set of ready-to-use lesson plans for volunteer IT trainers who want to teach computer and Internet basics.

Germany needs to embrace the digital revolution in order to keep its position as one of the world’s economic and exporting powerhouses. In her keynote remarks, Chancellor Merkel acknowledged tremendous “respect” for the IT industry as a source of growth and praised is the emergence of a strong German Start-Up culture. Let’s hope these words soon will extend to praising the merits of data driven innovation.