Data4Good Conference Sydney

March 28th, ICC Sydney

We would like to say a massive thank you to our attendees who joined us in our first Data4Good event in March and an even bigger thank you to our amazing speakers for inspiring us all with their wonderful stories.

If you missed out, you can get an recap of our speakers topics below and if you are dying to attend the next event please Join our Mailing List so you don’t miss out on the important news. We promise we won’t bombard you with too many emails or bore you with too much content. We’ll be sending information, updates and inspirational stories happening in the world of #data4good and we’d love you to join the movement.

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Warwick Norman

Former CEO, Rightship

Driven by poor industry practices which were often leading to the deaths of shipping staff, and the negative environmental impact of carbon emissions of freighters, Warwick launched “Rightship” creating a star rating to measure ships on metrics that impact maritime risk. This star rating relies on data gathering from a variety of sources (e.g. Abandonment of Seafarers DB to highlight the safety of the ships, crew welfare, sanctions of companies and individuals, the carbon emissions when sailing and many other critical measures. The result is that companies hiring the ships (as well as shipping insurers) are able to make choices based on each ship’s practices. This star rating has become the standard and changed the way the shipping industry functions.

If you love data (who doesn’t?!) – then check out some of their insights here.

Patrick O’Meley

Executive Engineer, Data Analyst & Software Engineer, Therapeutic Goods Administration

The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) safeguards and enhances the health of the Australian community through effective and timely regulation of therapeutic goods. TGA’s Patrick O’Meley shared how data can be used to support patient safety with the development of an early identification solution for faulty medical equipment. Data can be used to highlight to manufacturers the nature of repeat incidents for a product. Data also assists with making decisions in advance about equipment selection.

The TGA face some data challenges that are crucial and should be considered by any company handling data such as extra data validation due to the high visibility of their published data and questioning/challenging any assumptions that have been made about the data. Their data usage goes beyond TGA specific areas – they’ve developed clever operational practices by using industry production data to predict their staff workload.

Blair Hudson

Sydney Data Science Community Leader

Blair brought his enthusiasm for data and encouraged the crowd to themselves go out and inspire, ignite ideas, and innovate. Blair’s Data 4 Democracy hackathons encourage participants to use innovative techniques to collate and use data to help more people.

His advice to businesses includes: share your stories. Businesses create meaningful connections with their customers through sharing these stories. He also encouraged the creation of networks to help build solutions. If you’re establishing a data science platform then check out this article that Blair wrote on 35 free tools for impactful volunteer data science projects.

Renzo Mostacci

Chief Information Officer, Uniting

Uniting is passionate about helping older people to lead happy, healthy lives and Renzo told us that the most compassionate thing you can do for people is to predict their needs. They are looking at predicting the info that they provide to their clients at different times, so that even though their timing is guided by data, their interactions are more beneficial.

He also explained how they are using analytics to significantly improve safety standards in their centres. Using data makes things quantifiable, so it helps identify if incidents are isolated or systemic, thereby guiding how best to handle them.

Renzo took us through some of the models they use, explaining the inter-dependencies between their data science and operational models – the reports provide perspective and the data science helps deliver outcomes.

Aviva Beecher Kelk

Co-founder & Co-Director, Clickability

Aviva can be described as passion meets creative solutions. She shared Clickability with us – her NDIS marketplace for consumers, which helps consumers make an informed choice about their NDIS service providers. Data can be used to empower families using social services – consumers are able to access reviews based on other people’s experience of each provider. There’s a great video about how it works here.

Aviva believes organisations in the social sector need to tap into their under-utilised data. It’s important to make data usable to bridge the gap between research and practice.

Tania Brown

Chief Operating Officer, UOW’s SMART Infrastructure Facility

Tania’s department at the University of Wollongong has a diverse range of “Smartcities” projects – scientific/data led projects improving local and overseas communities. The projects include an IOT project that monitors CCTV for vehicle type and pedestrian movements in order to manage traffic around LGAs, and, which is a “human geographer” that collects flood data from twitter user’s posts by getting them to hashtag the posts while having their location data switched on. They’re harnessing social media data to benefit Government and Individuals during flooding emergencies in Jakarta. Tania explained how they are using this data to go from reactive (after many hours lead time trying to map out the flood) to proactive during emergencies. has been acknowledged as the best practice of crowdsourced information in an emergency situation and has been the rare beneficiary of a Twitter data grant. Check out how it works here.

Harnessing social media data to benefit Government and Individuals during an emergency, Tania explains how they are using this data to go from reactive to proactive during emergencies. The project ( has been acknowledged as the best practice of crowdsourced information in an emergency situation.

Pete Yao

Chief Impact Officer, Thankyou.

Pete Yao of the Thankyou brand shared the inspirational story (both highs and lows) of how Thankyou became the household name it is today. They have a social media strategy and tactics that challenge the way that industries have traditionally operated. They consistently think creatively about how to use consumer data and financial metrics to create positive social impact. Once implemented, data can be used to measure solutions to ensure they’re effective and efficient. He also covered how to think outside the data box when you’ve got limited resources. One of their initiatives, the Thankyou tracking tool, brings the story to the consumers, so they can see the projects impacted by the money spent on that product and see how the brand aligns with their values.

Anthony Kachenko

Research & Development Team Leader, Horticulture Innovation Australia

Anthony discussed the 202020 Vision – making urban areas 20% greener by 2020, and the data science behind the decisions to help make Australian cities greener. His team process data from iTree to map the green space of Local Government Areas showing each suburb’s vulnerability index which is based on: Heat, Health and Trends. They track the data at different points in time so they can see the changes over that period and whether each LGA is improving or moving away from the 202020 vision.

Another key takeaway from Anthony’s talk: everyone needs plants (and a generous amount of them) in their living room! You can download the VR “Plant Life Balance” app to find out how you can make your life greener and be a catalyst for positive environmental change.

Here are some links Anthony mentioned that are definitely worth checking out:

Neil Shah

Chapter Lead, DataKind Singapore

Datakind has a network of 30,000 volunteer data scientists (wow!) across 5 global chapters. They work with Not For Profits by solving their problems and empowering them to make data driven decisions. The NFPs present to the volunteer data scientists about the problems that they’re facing, the volunteer teams then work together for varying periods (e.g. over weekends for 4-5 months) to come up with solutions.

A few projects Neil mentioned were:

  • An aim to increase campaign effectiveness for National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) Some of their resulting insights included: customised messages receive a 50% higher response than non-customised messages, and when a personal story is shared then the donations are higher.
  • How can data & tech be used to derive insights and develop tools to aid conservation of Singapore’s endangered Banded Leaf Monkey? The result being that an app was created to help id langurs in photos in order to predict the actual langur population: Check it out. The D4G Audience got to see the “”Tinder for Monkeys”” app – where we stared intently at two photos of langurs trying to identify if they were the same individual. Fall in love with langurs here.