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Data & Pizza: Feeding Minds and Solving World Issues, One Slice at a Time

By Elena Murray

What does a slice of pizza have in common with a news article about trialling a four-day work week in Spain? Both can serve as a launching point to discuss the importance of data, data re-use and data stewardship – which is precisely what The Data Tank, in collaboration with the Hertie School Data Science Lab, set out to do in the ‘Data & Pizza: Feeding Minds and Solving World Issues, One Slice at a Time’ event for Berlin Science Week on 7 November.

What is the Berlin Science Week?

Every year, between 1–10 November, Berlin becomes a nexus for celebrating scientific excellence, knowledge and discovery, and promoting innovative exchange. Berlin Science Week brings together more than 500 speakers, over 150 organisations and an audience exceeding 20,000 during ten festival days.

The Data Tank event, held at the Hertie School in Berlin, opened with a warm welcome from Prof Asya Magazinnik, Professor of Social Data Science at the Hertie School, and Dr Julia Stamm, CEO of The Data Tank. The Data Tank aims to highlight how data re-use that underpins not only many advances in technology, but also essential parts of our daily lives, can be harnessed to effectively address the pressing challenges of our time.

Asya Magazinnik and Julia Stamm

To demonstrate how data re-use can be applied in practice, The Data Tank team held a “headlines” activity, where participants were invited to discuss recent news articles about topics ranging from work habits and health in Spain, to drought and food security in Bolivia. The interactive activity spurred thought-provoking and insightful discussions about how key concepts explored by The Data Tank, such as data , data re-use, and data stewardship, are essential considerations that can be applied to the critical global challenges we face today.

Elements discussed by participants during the headlines activity included:

  • Traditional vs non-traditional data sources and points,
  • Data re-use might be biased toward supporting specific socio-political agendas,
  • In addition to using data to present results of a pilot program – data is crucial to identifying policy issues/challenges,
  • The need for a holistic multi-stakeholder approach across different entities for data sharing is rapidly growing,
  • When discussing specific topics, i.e. health, productivity, or workers) clearly defining the scope of the topics is fundamental.

Paulina Behluli

Moiz Shaikh

Natalia Mejia Pardo and Laura Sandor

Human do not live by mental curiosity alone. While the event unfolded, attendees also had the opportunity to connect over another common interest – pizza! Slices in hand, the participants were challenged to think about innovative ways to leverage data for real-world issues. Following the exercise, a networking session provided participants with the chance to connect with like-minded individuals and to get to know the members of the Hertie School Data Science Lab and The Data Tank.

Through interactive activities and discussions, the ‘Data and Pizza’ event at Berlin Science week explored the potential of data re-use in addressing current global challenges and allowed participants to brainstorm innovative data solutions. The event exemplified how academic knowledge, problem-solving, and community building (and pizza) can harness the potential of data re-use, showcasing its impact on tackling real-world challenges.

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