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Why you should throw a ‘data party’

“It’s less formal than a hackathon, but could help organisations unearth new ways to grow the business,” says Sonya Crosby of Bank of New Zealand

We have to use and think about data more differently, holistically and more collaboratively

Sonya Crosby, Bank of New Zealand

When you have tons of data, a business intelligence or data science team, what’s the next step?

“Throw a data party,” proffers Sonya Crosby, head of data strategy and transformation at Bank of New Zealand.

Serve wine and pizza, and bring together the head of BI, the data scientists, with other key people from the business.

“Have a play with your data and ask questions,” she says.

“You are bringing people together to unleash the power of data. You start identifying where these ideas can go.”

“When you bring different people into the room to have a look at the data, you might get questions that are really, really important for the business.”

“It sparks creative thinking,” adds Crosby, who has held executive roles at SkyCity, Fonterra, Datamine, Affinity ID, McCann Global, and Saatchi & Saatchi.

It’s not a hackathon

A data party is not a hackathon.

“It is more informal,” explains Crosby. “It is a way of changing the conversation around data and actually bringing in other points of view from those who would not normally be in the room.”

“Quite often, what you find is the data scientist is the most creative in the room once you give them the opportunity and bring in diverse thinking.”

In an earlier role, Crosby says they used to hold a ‘data party’ every month.

“It is just an opportunity to come and think about data differently, instead of within the parameters you are given day to day,” she says.

“We have to use and think about data more differently, holistically, and more collaboratively.”

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