In the 3rd episode of our mini-podcast series "Data Unplugged: Conversations from the Richmond CDO Forum", we talk to Edosa Odaro, one of our keynote speakers, as he talks to us about his data journey and upcoming keynote session.
Read transcript ›
Welcome to the mini podcast series Data Unplugged: Conversations from the Richmond CDO Forum. Join us as we interview the data thought leaders and chief data officers featuring on our 2024 conference program, hear how they are shaping the future of data, and get a glimpse into the areas of expertise they'll be bringing to the forum in September 2024. Learn about their journeys into the world of data and find out about the person behind the title as we look forward to the inaugural Richmond CDO Forum next September. Brought to you by Richmond Events.
My name is Liam Quinn and I'm the project director for the Richmond CDO Forum here at Richmond Events. It's my pleasure to host this podcast and I hope you get as much out of it as I did. In today's podcast, we're going to hear from Edosa Odaro. He's going to provide with a brief summary of how he got into the world of data and what he'll be discussing at the Richmond CDO Forum next year. Hi Edosa, and thanks for joining us. Our first question is, in a nutshell, how did you begin your career in data and what's kept you here?
So would you believe that I actually originally wanted to be a pilot as opposed to being a scientist, but that's a story for another time. But I think when I think about the start now in hindsight, it's perhaps always quite logical because I was always inclined to mathematics. I was actually very fortunate to be one of only 10 in the entire country to have actually won a scholarship. But I think beyond academics, I think there was probably three things I would say not only got me started, but also kept me going all this time. I think one would be just problem solving. I've always loved Lego and puzzles and things like that, and it generated into computer gaming and just fixing things. But also I just remember just always questioning things and just having that questioning inquisitive mind. I think a third thing was just the fact that I always wanted to see things done, just wanted to create impact and solve problems for people. So I think those three things have not only got me here, but have also kept me going through the years.
What is your top prediction for the future of data and what opportunities for harnessing data do you foresee on the horizon?
So predictions and opportunities I see coming up. So I think the first thing to say is unfortunately there will be some bad things and there'll be some good things as well. So I'd say that three bad things, if you like, for us to look out for, unfortunately, I do believe that there will be a lot more jobs actually destroyed than created. It's controversial, but I think that's ought to be there to be seen, especially with Gen AI coming on board. Second thing I'd say is we need to watch out for bias a lot more so, but also noise. It's not one that lots of us are talking about right now, but I think that's a huge area of concern. The third thing is just the whole kind of area around risk and trust. So risk, clearly there's going to be a lot more risk now in terms of data security, but also in terms of just things going wrong and the scale of those kinds of things as well.
Trust has been another big issue, both from an internal standpoint, but also from the customers that we serve externally. That's the bad stuff. Also the good stuff, I think value creation's going to be a big one and there's a huge amount already been talked about in terms of predictions around value creation. Something like $10 trillion has been created as the kind of global value, but I think there's going to be a lot more now with Gen AI coming on board as well.
Second thing I'd say is we are going to see a lot more opportunities to fast track our delivery. That is just our ability to actually get things done, put things in front of our stakeholders and our customers. Third thing I think is a lot more, I suppose, fringe sectors. Sectors that haven't really seen very much viability around data and AI solutions will start to see that. So talking about sectors, likes of agriculture, likes of travel and tourism, likes of education, construction, manufacturing and such. So watch out for those. If you're in those kind of sectors, I think you'll start to see a huge amount more opportunities to progress your data and AI initiatives going forward.
In your opinion, what makes a good CDO?
So I think it's incredibly hard to define the one single definition, if you like, for what is a good CDO, it's going to be very context specific. And that unicorn I don't think has been found just yet. But I think there's four or five things that I've had through my career that I would be very happy to share. And the first one, I think most would agree, great to be data-driven, but I think really being value driven and moving beyond just being data-driven, it would be a huge, huge asset. Second one, I'd say, great to be a good communicator. We often need to communicate across very diverse stakeholder groups, but I think knowing when to stop talking and start doing, it's a huge asset. Third thing I would say is really, of course some CDOs are fairly technical, at least have a good understanding of being on the technical side of things.
But I think knowing when to start to listen and empower teams is a huge, huge asset to have as well. The fourth thing I would say would be really sticking to teams, really attracting talent's a great thing. Going beyond that and really being able to retain diverse skill sets and diverse individuals and diverse minds is a huge, huge asset.
Finally, I would say yes, we talk about being value focused, but I think really at times we need to be able to balance between very disparate things that sometimes it might seem conflicting, like privacy against, I suppose profits as an example. So really thinking about how to get that balanced right. It's a huge asset as well. So there'll be four or five things that I think it'll be helpful towards being a good CDO.
Tell us one thing that might surprise people about you.
Okay. Something that might surprise. Perhaps one would be the fact that in a parallel sort of life, if you like, I'm a ski photographer, which combines two of my big passions for skiing on the one hand and for photography. And I suppose thinking about it that skiing kind of draws on my need for speed from a professional capacity to some degree, and perhaps the photography side is about really finding the signals of those nuggets of value that matter amongst a huge amount of noise. So in a parallel life, I'm a ski photographer.
Finally, please provide a small teaser into your session at the inaugural Richmond CDO Forum.
Sure. So a quick teaser into my session. So my session is going to be looking across data and AI, actually going to be looking through very specific lenses and looking at perils, potential and powers. In terms of perils, really we need to be reminding ourselves about those big issues have already occurred. What lessons can we take from those to prepare better for the future? In terms of potential, looking beyond likes of the cloud, IOT and blockchain, things we're starting to get used to, into looking at things like Gen AI and value-driven data and what those kinds of things they're actually going to be giving us in terms of opportunities going forward. Power's really thinking about one of the key things being speed and how that links directly into both value creation but also value retention. So there's a huge amount for us to unpack. I'm really, really excited about the session, looking forward to meeting you and I hope that you're excited and looking forward to this session as well. See you soon.
Thank you, Edosa. The session sounds absolutely fantastic and I can't wait to hear it. I'm also looking forward to catching up with you and trying to find out what it was about being a pilot that so attracted you initially.
This was Data Unplugged: Conversations From the Richmond CDO Forum, brought to you by Richmond Events. We hope you enjoyed this podcast. Please follow us on LinkedIn and Spotify, helping us to spread the word and reach chief data officers throughout the UK. You can find out more at www.therichmondcdoforum.com.