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Andrew Lynn, head of data, Unicef UK

Andrew Lynn

Path to power

I’ve spent 20 years working with data in the charity sector. I cut my teeth at Cancer Research UK and became interested in data, rather than the systems that housed it, moving into data governance. While I was at there, I’d worked on a big CRM change project and I joined Unicef UK as it was considering a similar project; I was able to bring my knowledge and experience to firstly create a case for change and then deliver on key project outcomes. I now head up a team with responsibility for Unicef UK’s data, ensuring we have the data, systems and processes we need to fundraise and increase our influence; effectively managing data as a strategic asset.

 

What is the proudest achievement of your career to date?

The work I did on GDPR; this helped catalyse our thinking about data and data management.

 

Who is your role model or the person you look to for inspiration?

Max Roser and Our World In Data are hugely inspirational, making data accessible and measuring our shared accountabilities through the Sustainable Development Goals Tracker.

 

Did 2019 turn out the way you expected? If not, in what ways was it different?

I’d expected it to be a challenging year, and that turned out to be the case. At Unicef UK, we’ve worked hard to put the foundations in place for further growth, and at times that has been difficult to prioritise among other activities.

I’d thought we’d see GDPR enforcement decisions sooner and that would lead to adaptations to working practice; instead we’re still waiting to see the outcomes of significant decisions in this area.

 

What do you expect 2020 to be like for the data and analytics industry?

I think it’s going to be a fascinating year. There are some interesting areas with a regulatory focus - age appropriate design and adtech are just two – that have the potential to disrupt business models. Also, there are fewer barriers to entry for some important technologies, which means more is possible, and with this comes a responsibility for organisations to work out if, just because something is possible, that should become part of their working practice. I think it’s difficult to work in data presently without a perspective on ethics.

 

Data and technology are changing business, the economy and society – what do you see as the biggest opportunity emerging from this?

There is a huge opportunity for organisations and citizens in data rights. I don’t think this has been fully grasped yet on either side and as a result the opportunity hasn’t been explored well enough to discover the benefits.

 

What is the biggest tech challenge you face in ensuring data is at the heart of your digital transformation strategy?

Data integration: bringing data together at the right speed and quality for the business to make the best decisions and for our supporters to have an inspiring experience.

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