As part of SAP’s Conversations on the Future of Business series, I recently sat down with Dan Wagner, CEO of Civis Analytics, for a conversation about how organizations can use data to derive insights that can drive innovation and organizational transformation. Don’t recognize his name? You will recognize his work: How about a little thing like re-electing the President of the United States?

Dan is the wunderkind (he’s only 30) who served as the Chief Analytics Officer for the 2012 Obama campaign. He ran an operation called “the Cave,” staffed by dozens of twenty-something data scientists who analyzed huge amounts of data from many disparate sources that enabled the campaign to target individual, influence-able voters with highly effective tactics.The insights that emerged from the Cave informed all major decisions throughout the campaign and changed forever how national campaigns are run. Read the MIT Technology Review’s excellent report for more details.

                                           https://youtube.com/watch?v=tpNnYH7oK30

Backed financially by none other than Google’s Eric Schmidt, today Dan advises forward-looking CEOs, CMOs and CIOs on how to leverage data to get smarter, make better decisions, and build data-driven cultures.

During our conversation, Dan had three important pieces of advice for these business leaders:

  1. Drive organizational and cultural change as hard as you drive technological change. CIOs: Get onboard!
  2. Focus first on defining the problem you are trying to solve, then sweat the technical architecture you need to solve it.
  3. Learn to trust the data.

To hear more of what the Data Caveman is whispering in the ears of business leaders across North America, watch the interview, you’ll be smarter for it.

Next up: A conversation with Nate Silver, author of the FiveThirtyEight blog and the NYT bestseller The Signal and the Noise:Why So Many Predictions Fail — but Some Don’t.

                                  

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