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Speaker(s): Dr Pablo Rodriguez
Chair: Professor Milan Vojnovic

Recorded on 10 January 2018 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

Innovation in most large companies these days is fairly incremental. There is nothing inherently wrong in this, as much of our progress as a society has resulted from such innovation. Over recent years, however, we are seeing a radical departure from incremental innovation. Instead, we look at organisations who intentionally set extremely ambitious innovation objectives, where incremental innovation cannot get the job done.

The focus of this talk is to discuss the ways in which organisations mobilise resources to go after bold objectives which can move the needle: Moonshots. These are not incremental innovation activities, but instead multi-year missions that mobilise extensive scientific and technological resources to expand the horizons for both organizations and societies, and transform both in the process.

From the original Apollo mission, the original IBM 360 mainframe computer, NASA, DARPA, Google X, or Telefonica´s new spinoff company — Alpha, more and more organizations are trying to inductively develop a coherent approach to creating and executing organisational moonshots.

A major driving force to tackle Moonshots is the incredible advances in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence. It is widely believed that global human progress depends on the collection and analysis of data to fuel our increasingly digital world. There is tangible benefit including economic opportunity to be gained. But arguably most important, is data as a force for global and impactful social good and, here, the possibilities are endless.

Pablo Rodriguez (@pabloryr) is the CEO of Alpha. Prior to Alpha, Pablo led Telefonica´s corporate research lab and incubator. He has worked in several Silicon Valley startups and corporations including Inktomi, Microsoft Research and Bell-Labs. His current interests are privacy and personal data, re-thinking the Internet ecosystem and network economics. He has co-founded the Data Transparency Lab, an NGO to drive data privacy and transparency. He is on the advisory board of Akamai, EPFL, and IMDEA Networks. He has worked with chef Ferran Adria (El Bulli) on computational gastronomy and with F.C. Barcelona applying data science to soccer. He received his Ph.D. from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. He is an IEEE Fellow and an ACM Fellow.

Milan Vojnovic is Professor of Data Science with the Department of Statistics and the MSc in Data Science Programme Director.

SEDS (@SEDS_LSE) is an interdisciplinary research unit established to foster the study of data science and new forms of data with a focus on its social, economic, and political aspects. SEDS aims to host, facilitate, and promote research in social and economic data science. SEDS is a collaboration between the Departments of Statistics, Methodology and Mathematics.

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