Goa Institute of Management (GIM) leads debate on Ethical Data Leadership

Goa:Big data is fueling the new digital economy and stakeholders of big data are experimenting with ever-evolving business cases to leverage data to generate business value. However, the new digital economy that is built on data needs a bigger lens for examination that goes beyond the traditional governance frameworks and risk-mitigation strategies. A new class of risks is generated in the digital age due to the inherent nature of data analysis and the set of actions taken on the insights. Some prominent risks include the unethical or even illegal use of insights, augmenting biases to aggravate social and economic justice issues and data usage for purposes not intended for and without taking the formal consent.

Goa Institute of Management in its 25th year of celebration has taken the lead to start the country’s first two-year post-graduate program in Big Data Analytics. In the context of the critical issue of the data-driven economy, GIM is organizing a conclave on “Ethical data Leadership” on 22nd September in Bangalore. In the conclave, the top thought leaders will be deliberating and discussing the aspects of “Ethical Data Leadership” that is fueling the new digital economy, cross-border jurisdiction, third-party involvement, data and privacy, security, and safety parameters along with the usage of cutting-edge technology concerns that are important to leverage data [ethically] to generate the business value.

The speakers and panelists for the conclave are: Bhaskar Pramanik (Formerly, Microsoft-India Chairman), Arun V. Chearie (Director, SAS), Rahul De (Hewlett-Packard Chair Professor – IIM Bangalore), Anoop Nambiar (Chief Data Officer, Deloitte), Narasimha Murthy (Vice President, Delivery & Technology, Cartesian Consulting Pvt. Ltd) and Avik Sarkar (Head Data Analytics, NITI Ayog). Nitin Upadhyay (Chair and Head Centre for Innovation and Member Big Data Analytics, Goa Institute of Management) will moderate the panel discussion on “Ethical Data Leadership”.

It is needless to say, such practices can lead to massive damage not only to data-driven industry but also to consumers’ trust in the brand. In the past, cybersecurity threat was one of the prime risks that most of the industries were concerned with, but these days, unethical data practices have surmounted the whole risks gamut. It is critical for every player to mitigate the internal threats like cybersecurity but that is not the sufficient condition to attain the data leadership and deliver real value. The world has seen recently a backlash that top data conglomerates have faced, whether it’s during the election campaign where the social media platforms like Facebook data has been utilized unethically to manipulate the public opinion or micro-targeting the consumers by setting consumers psychological profile.

The [data driven] firm, as a big data industry, needs to be a little cautious about its presence and activities in the “Big data industry value chain”. The firm faces a huge challenge to monitor and control the ways, roles, and responsibilities of working with the big data inside its value chain. Moreover, it has little or no control over upstream and downstream sources. This is a major challenge and creates an ethical dilemma.

Big data is ethically neutral, as it does not provide any “standardized” value framework. However, individuals and organizations do have value systems otherwise; we would not have witnessed the “society”. Ethics has its journey; it comes into play when an organization determines that the information that they have or collect is beneficial and could be used to develop new products, services or insights. The ethical impact is highly context-dependent and may put an organization in awkward situations in front of its customer segments. The effect may also lead to a legal lawsuit against an organization that is involved in an unethical way of working with the data.

Dr. Ajit Parulekar, Director Goa Institute of Management says that “This data conclave will further GIM’s objective of being a management thought-promoter and providing a platform for cutting edge discussions in emerging business domains such as Big Data analytics. The combination of the business imperative with the dimension of ethics resonates with the values of GIM and the theme of our 25th year celebrations: “Principle-Centred Leadership. We hope that the attending executives and business leaders will have significant takeaways from the discussions that will take place among the gathered thought leaders in the domain.”

The deliberation and discussions of the big data conclave will be helpful to the data stakeholders to redefine the ethical inquiry to strengthen their philosophical thinking and inquiry to break the barriers to growth and success thereby creating a sustainable and ethical culture.