DIA Entries 2021: Judges’ Insight

DIA Entries 2021: Judges’ Insight

The 2021 Data Impact Award (DIA) submissions are starting to stream in, and we know many of you are contemplating your entries – which we are excited to see. To help guide your award strategy, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to ask our judges — a panel comprised of leading analysts and journalists well-versed in the application of data and the wider benefits it can bring across industries – what it takes for a winning project. We also wanted to hear what they’re interested in seeing this year, and what in their opinion makes for a unique entry. Without further ado, here are a few of the insights they have graciously shared. 

Data and fanning the flames of business transformation 

Returning judge Paige Bartley of 451 Research, part of S&P Global Market Intelligence, compares the use of data to that of fire, seeing it as: “a powerful and transformational tool if used correctly, but potentially destructive and dangerous if applied without care.”

Identifying the essence of what she’s looking for in an entry, Bartley comments: “It’s ubiquitously understood that data can be used for business benefit. But the most impactful uses of data are those that seek to have a broader positive impact on society.”

With environmental, social, and governance trends becoming a zeitgeist, Bartley recognizes that problems such as “systemic bias, privacy violation, and lack of transparency can undermine societal trust of new data-driven approaches to challenges.” As a result, she’s looking for distinctive award entries demonstrating: “a dedication to not only technological innovation for the immediate benefit of the business, but also for the benefit of customers, communities, the environment, and society.”

Reflecting on the DIA projects that have stood out in the past, she points to the ones that: “leverage data for business innovation, while architecting meaningful safeguards against potential risks and societal dangers.”

Using data as a force for good

For Data for Good category judge Mike Barlow, Cumulus Partners, DIA finalists represent: “true commitment to the use of data science as a force for good and positive change in critical areas such as healthcare, social justice and climate change.” 

Urging data scientists everywhere to participate in this year’s competition, Barlow echoes Bartley’s sentiment when it comes to what he’s looking for in a submission: “To catch my attention, entries should demonstrate caring, empathy and understanding of the larger issues we’re trying to solve with our technical expertise.”

He concludes: “the best entries capture both the social and the scientific value of data analysis.”

Celebrating the efforts of individuals within an organization

Cornelia Lévy-Bencheton, CLB Strategic Consulting, sees the DIA as a “great learning experience” and an opportunity to shine a light on those individuals and teams within an organization that are making a difference. 

She encourages Cloudera customers to enter by pointing out that from their perspective: “it’s a way of taking stock of the company’s performance in a different way – one that appreciates the influence and impact of a firm and its employees as a force for change and for good in the world. Recognizing this positive change provides a way to give credit to employees and others and celebrate unsung heroes who are perhaps otherwise not noticed.”

A showcasing of data ambition and skill to make the stakeholders proud

Alex Woodie, Managing Editor at Datanami, puts forward another reason why Cloudera customers should enter the awards – one that reflects the changing industry attitudes towards data and the recognition that awards now play in attracting more ethical and conscientious investment: “For a long time, big data projects were a competitive differentiator, and so organizations understandably didn’t want to give many details about what they were up to. But the competitive situation has changed, and today the majority of organizations are under the gun to show stakeholders that they are actively pursuing big things with data. Participating in the Cloudera Data Impact Awards is a great way to showcase that data ambition and skill.”

By sharing their success, organizations entering the DIA are also providing inspiration and a potential blueprint for how other businesses can better harness their data. Capturing this sentiment is Philip Carnelley from IDC: “The best submissions can provide encouragement and even guidance as to how others can benefit – themselves, their customers and society – from data and innovation in ways they may not have thought of, or by steering them to the best way to do so. The best outcome is where someone sees a winning entry and thinks I hadn’t thought of it before, but I could do that too and get real benefit.”

For further insight, and tips, from the judges, keep your eyes peeled on our social media channels in the build-up to the award entry deadline. For more information on this year’s category and awards, please visit www.cloudera.com/DIA

Arielle Diamond
Customer Advocacy Manager, Marketing Communications
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by Mike Barlow on

Nice post Arielle! Thank you for including our commentary!

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