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Insights in 5 with Jen Q. Public: Top stories from the public sector

Digital Marketing Lead, Public Services Sector, IBM Analytics

Award-winning Carl Hayden High School teacher Fredi Lajvardi left Insight 2015 attendees with a challenge: “If life does not give you a dream, build one!” We who attended the Insight conference heard story after story about the dreams that are coming from the insight economy—everything from 3D-printed cars that practice active safety to use of weather data to re-imagine not only disaster preparation, but also how companies do business.

However, many of Insight’s greatest stories were told not in sessions or presentations, but rather during lunch conversations, demos and impromptu Periscope chats. To tap into that narrative, I’m bringing you five public sector stories from IBM Insight.

1. Educators are redefining success

First, let’s hear what Angela Tuminello, the design lead for the IBM Analytics newsroom, learned about education during Insight:

When I had the opportunity to talk to thought leader Susan Bearden and education consultant Lucy Gray about education at Insight, I asked them, “With so many concerns about student data privacy, why is it still so important to embrace data and analytics in education?”

Lucy responded simply: “We have to. It’s the future.” She elaborated by saying that test scores, for example, have been the measure of success for years. However, school districts often do not receive student test results soon enough to effectively drive positive changes to curriculum. Accordingly, educators must establish pathways that facilitate continuous improvement.

Making this happen requires the ability to quickly collect and analyze data and then share the insights gleaned from that data with school leaders and teachers. Furthermore, understanding student data means understanding more than just test scores. Just imagine—what if school districts could consider results in the greater context of students’ lives?

Suppose that a school sees math scores slip during an unusually cold and snowy winter. In such a case, appearances notwithstanding, the curriculum might not be what is failing. Rather, before- or after-school tutoring programs might have suffered regular cancellations during inclement weather—and contextual analysis could take this into account.

As in other industries, the insights gained by integrating and analyzing educational data can be disruptive because they allow us to revise—that is, to heighten—our regular expectations of success. The farther we can see, the greater the change we can create. In education, this means creating the best possible opportunities for every student—because, as Lucy said, that is the future of education.

2. Analytics is putting people first in healthcare

Shahid Shah, cofounder and CEO of Netspective Communications, saw a new future for healthcare:

IBM Insight was a mind-blowing experience. IBM successfully tied technology to value, to software and to results and humanized analytics so it mattered to us. It was music to my ears to hear that IBM is focusing on the convergence and reduction of complexity in deployment and scaling of complex analytics.

I also loved the focus on the cognitive era, and I was happy to join Nick DiMeo at IBM InsightGO to discuss how technology and analytics are transforming healthcare. Innovating in the health space is literally life and death, where each move must be a necessary and calculated one. It’s important that we continue to push forward and use Watson within the cognitive era in ways that help doctors become more efficient at caring for a patient’s needs.

3. Cognitive computing is remaking the classroom

Natasha Bishop overheard Susan Bearden, the director of information technology at Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy, when Susan stopped by IBMGO to share her thoughts about technology in education:

Susan’s conversation intrigued me—her passion for education was irresistible. To hear her take on the intersection of education and technology, jump to the 7:32 mark. I think you’ll be as inspired as I was to hear how cognitive computing could help educators rethink education to deliver personalized learning to students.

4. Care management is bringing people together

Oliver Clark, a social media specialist for IBM Analytics, got a glimpse at what data analytics is doing for healthcare:

Being the ambassador for Andre Blackman, a social VIP for the public sector, I joined his tour of the healthcare booth at the Solution EXPO, where he met with Dale Stone, an enterprise content management architect for IBM. As Dale demonstrated the care management capabilities of IBM's healthcare solution, he explained how doctors and care practitioners could use the software to reduce readmission rates.

Interested, Andre remarked, “It’s good, because oftentimes the data coordinator is not in sync with the data navigator. They might ask, ‘What does this mean, or this mean?’ and this solution makes it pretty clear.” I was able to capture more insights from Andre, so stay tuned to IBM Analytics for an extended video of the demo Andre attended.

5. Students of all ages are benefiting from cognitive computing

One of the most exciting parts of IBM Insight is the collision of brilliant minds. The unplanned encounters that arise when attendees least expect them are one of the greatest treasures Insight has to offer, for they give us insight into the candid thoughts of industry influencers and innovators. Small wonder, then, that exactly this happened when education consultant Lucy Gray chatted with Susan Bearden and IBMer Richard Rodts on Periscope, discussing the future of cognitive computing in K–12 education:

The promise of the insight economy inspired everyone who attended Insight 2015, but the conference was just a beginning. After all, as Nancy Bailey said in her keynote talk, “Big data is just data until you do something with it.” Let’s take our cue from her and go home from Insight eager to drive our data and analytics projects ahead, fueled with a burning curiosity.

That’s analytics in the public sector through my lens. For more stories (and videos) from IBM Insight, visit IBMGO, where you’ll be able to find out how IBM solutions are reimagining governmenteducation and healthcare.

Until next time,

Jen Q., from Insight 2015