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Seven points to remember from the Data Innovation Summit

On the 10th May, the European Data Innovation Hub (diHub) held its second Data Innovation Summit at the AXA building in Brussels.

 About 400 people gathered to come and listen to discussions about the latest developments in data science and digital transformation. With 41 speakers at the summit, quite a lot was said. But what key messages should you take home?


Philippe Van Impe, founder of diHub and the Data Science community, opened the summit by stating that Belgian digitalisation was slower than the European average. He proposed a solution to this problem: tapping into a new source of expertise, our #womenintech. DiHub put its money where its mouth is: the majority of the speakers were women.

Food for thought

Most of the speakers were only allowed a five-minute time slot, which meant that information came rapid fire. It was a great format though, as it allowed for a wide variety of topics to be covered. But what should you take away from this barrage of information? We give you seven points worth remembering from the Data Innovation Summit:

  • In a digital world, disruption is key: The one who is most disruptive will succeed. We all have to disrupt, disruption will come from unexpected corners, and solutions are not sectored anymore. (Saskia Van Uffelen, Ericsson)
  • 65% of currently existing jobs will disappear in the future. This does not mean that less resources will be needed, but that we will need to learn new skills to innovate (Saskia Van Uffelen, Ericsson)
  • Big data is crucial for the growth of many companies. It puts the consumer at the centre of innovation and generates new revenue streams (Sonja Rottiers, AXA)
  • Brussels is catching up in the race to become a Smart City. While the capital still has a long way to go, it clearly has the ambition to use data to its full potential to create a better environment to live in, work in and visit. Brussels also encourages people to participate in its efforts by using open source data ( (Bianca Debaets, Secretary of State, Brussels)
  • Data privacy has become very important, and it remains a difficult issue in the digital age. True anonymity is hard to achieve. As soon as data is identifiable, protection rights and obligations need to be followed, especially when data is used for prediction or targeting purposes. (Sari Depreeuw, Dalderwolf)
  • Tech speak needs to be translated into common business language. Breaking silos and cooperating also means that digital nerds need to embrace the lingo of data nerds and vice versa to further enhance innovation. (Lieselotte Van Tieghem, Wijs)
  • Traditional market research will be put under pressure by social media intelligence. (Jun Stryckers, Social Karma)

My two cents

During my own presentation at the Data Innovation Summit, I talked about how I have seen the data science space change over the past 20 years. From my early career at P&G in Brussels, where I desperately tried to convince marketers of the value of data, to the current digital age in which a wide variety of companies are placing analytics at the centre of innovation.

Because we believe in the power of data, boobook helped sponsor the event. We also ran a booth, where Joost and myself had a busy time explaining what boobook was all about, and also about how we support companies to obtain wisdom through analytics.

by Nicole Huyghe,
Managing director
on 19-05-2016

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