(US and Canada) CDO Magazine and EDM Council congratulate Lens.org for winning the inaugural 2022 Data4Good Award in the Innovation, Industry & Infrastructure category. Richard Jefferson, CEO at Lens.org, speaks with Kate Carruthers, Chief Data and Insights Officer at the University of New South Wales, in a video interview about the organization’s passion for leveraging data, industry innovation and architecture, organizational plans, data governance and stewardship, and the importance of user experience.
Jefferson says that Lens.org is a not-for-profit social enterprise that self-sustains via revenue. He adds that the company passionately treats data as the critical element of decisions. Jefferson believes that all aspects of data must be about increasing quality, timeliness, and inclusiveness in making decisions.
Considering science crucial for innovation, Jefferson maintains that its professional guild structure and specialized method to feed data make it impossible to integrate with other societal actors. Therefore, the company has taken the most extensive corpus of non-copyrighted data about innovation and merged it with open data in the research community.
This leads to a decision-forming tool with solid user experience, says Jefferson. He states that the crises companies face are a reflection of poor innovation.
Regarding innovation and infrastructure, Jefferson notes that having an experienced engineering team at the company that feels passionately about innovation data is integral. He explains that the organization drives to break the barriers between different guilds within the innovation system to ensure global access to this knowledge.
Next, Jefferson emphasizes the company’s plan to scale rapidly. The company uses STEPS — Science and Technology-Enabled Problem Solving — to enrich the quality of decision making.
Jefferson points out, however, that scaling does not have to be linear. A company can scale massively for a modest input of resources. He says that the challenge is to bring in new types of data that encourage social embedding of the company’s work product.
When asked about data stewardship, Jefferson emphasizes privacy maintenance and states that privacy is the biggest battleground in society. He notes that the company goes out of its way to ensure nothing invades user privacy. That’s critical, Jefferson explains, because all necessary changes likely to happen in the next decade regarding the climate crisis will come from institutions.
He shares that Lens.org carefully notes that while its data is open, all the users control what they do with it. Enter the governance element, where the users determine the disposition of the work product, Jefferson adds.
User experience determines a lot of the governance element, he explains. It boils down to making decisions with data to create value, so the company focuses on engaging users with data to empower them to focus on that aspect.
Jefferson mentions that Lens.org established a technical approach to governance by developing a meta-record strategy. The company, he explains, focuses on identifying silos between corporate and institutional data to enable coordination because that is the crucial point of intervention.
He concludes by thanking CDO Magazine and EDM Council for recognizing Lens.org and urges data practitioners to pay attention to user experience.
CDO Magazine appreciates Richard Jefferson for sharing his insights and data success stories with our global community.