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MIT CDOIQ 2022: Highlights and Insights

A few weeks ago, thousands of us gathered at MIT CDOIQ 2022, the Chief Data Officer and Information Quality Symposium at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts to exchange ideas and solutions around challenges we face in the data space.

With dozens of speakers and over 100 presentations, there was no shortage of content for aspiring and current CDOs to choose from. Below I’ll highlight a few of my favorite sessions from the three-day event.

The CDO’s Actionable Framework to Share Sensitive Data

Per the speakers’ discussion, sharing sensitive data is both strategic and challenging. On one hand, it’s needed to drive innovation. And on the other, organizations are uncomfortable with the risk associated with violating privacy regulations and governance around data sharing.

In this session, speakers from Harris Computer, Geotab and others shared how to identify and communicate compelling reasons to provide both internal and external access to privacy sensitive data. They also discussed the importance of leveraging privacy preserving technologies, like differential privacy and federated learning, to make data more accessible—and it seems like their organizations are at the forefront of this new wave of data collaboration.

Lessons from Leading CDOs on Delivering Business Value for Long-Term Success

According to the Data and AI Leadership Executive Survey 2022, 50% of CDOs are not able to drive innovation through data collaborations. This might explain why the Harvard Business Review found the average CDO tenure is just 2.5 years, compared to 4.5 years for typical CFOs and CIOs.

In this session, executives from State Farm, Best Buy, Scotiabank, and the Mayo Clinic analyzed why CDO tenure has traditionally been short compared to their peers, and what organizations and CDOs can do to improve success.

One of the most important things that Grace Lee, SVP & CDAO at Scotiabank, pointed out, as mentioned in this MIT Sloan article, is that these companies must use data. Or at least they should! CDO’s are more than technical experts; they must be treated as equal partners to drive organizational success. This means that data and analytics cannot be treated as side-projects. They have to be priorities. If that’s the mindset, CDOs can show business units new possibilities when previously locked data becomes available to drive key corporate initiatives.

In order to accomplish this and to break down data silos, DeWayne Griffin, State Farm’s VP & CDO, intelligently recommended tracking metrics around data accessibility and usage. How long does it take to request, approve, receive, and actually use data across the organization?

Once you begin to measure and track this, you can begin to improve the process. And as we know, there’s no faster and more secure way than to leverage privacy preserving methods.

An excellent example of this was covered in the final session at MIT CDOIQ 2022, which I’ll highlight below.

Driving Innovation within the Department of Defense Acquisition Community

Digital Transformation isn’t just important to private corporations, the US Government considers it a key component to maintaining a competitive advantage over its adversaries. As such, this panel discussed the establishment of AIRC, the Acquisition Innovation Research Center, and how they are exploring the use of AI and cutting edge technologies to innovate and modernize data acquisition strategies to support the National Defense Strategy.

One of the most interesting strategies they’re exploring today is the creation of an acquisition analytics pipeline that leverages differential privacy, federated learning, and homomorphic encryption to secure a data science environment for innovative research.


All in all, the MIT CDOIQ 2022 Symposium was time well spent and I look forward to not only attending again next year, but also continuing to work side-by-side with the CDOs who are shaping tomorrow’s future for today’s top corporations.

My hope is that by next summer, there will be more confidence in which methods to use to make privacy sensitive data accessible, and less fear around using new technologies to preserve privacy and compliance. This is a core issue that will greatly impact the ability for CDOs to grow their average tenure from 2.5 to 4.5 years like their C-level counterparts. One of the ways they can create value for the organizations they serve is by speeding up time to data, and there’s no better way to do this than by leveraging software like Duality’s.

To learn how the Duality secure data collaboration platform is currently being used by CDAOs to win over CIOs and supporting business units, click here for a special CDO lunch and learn. Our treat!

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