Interview

‘How big an impact do you want to make on people's lives?’

Innovation strategist Danny Mekić advises organisations on strategic issues

Interview

‘How big an impact do you want to make on people's lives?’

Innovation strategist Danny Mekić advises organisations on strategic issues

Problematische schuldenlast

There is a clear trend towards releasing more and more data. What is your take on this?

The trend is unmistakable: we're moving from keeping data private to sharing it with others. In the past, the most expensive component of a PC was the hard disk. For a long time, we wanted to store as little data as possible. Today, the cost of data is practically zero. Indeed, you can actually make money with data, especially by combining data and establishing links. As a result, we now risk being swamped in data. Such a surplus makes it ever more difficult to filter out the data that is useful.

How should businesses deal with data capitalisation?

I think businesses will need to raise their general level of knowledge. Currently, the scope of their existing knowledge is too narrow. One tool that may help is a data map. This is an interactive visualisation of all data sources present within an organisation. If you are not aware which data you already have, it is hard to supervise it effectively, for instance for security and privacy purposes, let alone do something useful with it.

What is the potential benefit for consumers?

Small parties too are now gaining access to certain types of data. History shows that small parties are better at finding out exactly what a customer needs. For that reason, banks are partnering with players that are not necessarily in the financial sector themselves. While the sheer bulk of large companies makes it difficult for them to innovate, many start-ups lack sufficient clout to make an impact. A good example of that, I think, is ‘Tikkie’, a Dutch micropayment request system. It offers a level of convenience previously lacking. The big players then embraced it and shared it among themselves.

However, there are risks involved...

Who actually owns those data? The individual customer, or the company? And companies should ask themselves how great an impact they want to make, as financial institutions, on a person's life and on society at large. As an insurer, for example, do you want to provide an app so as to help your customers improve their driving style and reward them for that? In my view, the sector needs an internal debate on how far they are prepared to go.

What role do you expect the tech giants to play in the financial sector?

My hope is that the tech giants will provide for a more human approach in the financial sector. We've increasingly had to put up with poor-quality chatbots and anonymous call centres. I think this will need to change, given the additional pressure that the economy is under due to the corona crisis. Financial service providers now have a great opportunity to stand out from their competitors. Especially in difficult times, people need human contact, trust and understanding – things that a chatbox simply can't provide.

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