The effective use of data is the defining business trend of our time. However, the historic focus has been on big data as a tool for big organisations, locking SME's out of the process. Wiki New Zealand CEO Lillian Grace talks about how they are disrupting the existing model – and how your clients can benefit from having public data at their fingertips.
Hi, I’m Lillian Grace. I’m the CEO and founder of Wiki New Zealand – and we are democratizing data in New Zealand by bringing together the data we have in the public sector, the private sector and some academic data. Putting it into one place and then putting it into really simple visual form so that anyone can kind of play with it. And when I talk about data, I don’t mean like the big data and big streams of data and real-time feeds, I mean data that we can use as humans to make decisions. So whether you want to know what the unemployment rate is or, you know, how much cheese we export and to where and when we started doing it, and how many people live in certain towns – like that kind of data that we can use for our thinking.
I think there’s a huge opportunity there because right now, the data that we’re talking about has never been accessible before and so it’s all new. And it’s data that can provide context for business owners when they go to make a decision.
So one of the reasons that it’s been really exciting kind of working with Xero on some of this thinking and partnering with Xero is that I see that some of the underlying principles of how we operate and why we exist are really similar, So Xero is transforming what people can do with their financial management by automating and getting rid of all the kind of small day to day things and the time that gets spend that isn’t really adding value so that people can actually spend time going like, “So what? What does this mean?” and spending time getting insights to make decisions to run their business.
And Wiki New Zealand is really similar but using a different kind of data, but it’s a very complementary kind of data where we’re also saying, “You shouldn’t be spending time, you know, looking at spreadsheets and pulling them together and trying to get insights from that.” We know that barrier is too huge because nobody does it. So if we do the heavy lifting and if we surface that into a way that you can just be looking and going, you know, “What are the insights? What does it mean?” And that’s like where the huge value kind of comes in. And so those different types of data coming together to use all of that to really understand both how you’re performing, you know, over time and inside your business but also see the context you’re operating with and I think that’s where the magic is made.
So I’ve actually got a bit of a secret and that is that what we’re doing isn’t actually about data at all. That’s just the language we use to describe it. What we’re really doing is enabling people and arming them with information they need to make decisions and to really shape their lives and the future of not just themselves but our communities, our businesses and the country overall.
The reason I believe that’s possible and the reason I believe that the journey starts with data is because of the journey I’ve been on myself. I grew up pretty naively in life and i didn’t know how to think about a lot of things. I didn’t know about business or about how a lot of things in the world worked and how the country operated. but through the journey that I’ve been on, I’ve learned how to think using data and I know how powerful it feels when you’re actually armed to look at something and go, “I get that,” and you can use that to make decisions. I feel like I can shape my life and the life of what I do and those around me through that and that’s what we’re actually doing with Wiki New Zealand is empowering people to shape the best lives that they can create.