Data-driven innovation is unlocking new opportunities for Europe to grow its economy and address pressing social challenges. While Europe has achieved some early successes in data-driven innovation, including in areas such as education, energy, environmental management, health care, open data, smart cities, and smart manufacturing, it has not yet come close to reaching its full potential. The primary obstacle is that Europe’s policymakers, both in its capital cities and in Brussels, have not yet fully embraced data-driven innovation as a core driver of economic and social progress. To inject new leadership into this debate, Member States should appoint national chief data officers to not only champion data innovation domestically, but also serve on a new, independent advisory panel charged with counseling the European Commission on how to seize opportunities to innovate with data.
Paul MacDonnell is head of European policy at the Center for Data Innovation in Brussels. Prior to joining the Center Paul represented Insurance Ireland, the insurance industry trade association, in Dublin and Brussels and managed the industry's response to policy, legislative and regulatory developments. Paul began his career with Hill & Knowlton’s government affairs division in London where he provided advice to a number of Fortune 500 companies. In 2001 he co-founded an economic policy forum in Dublin, Open Republic, which, as well as hosting events aimed at policy-makers and politicians on such issues as pensions, taxation and the EU, was the Irish publisher of the Economic Freedom of the World Report. Paul has extensive broadcast and print media experience, and he holds a degree in Medieval English literature and philosophy from Trinity College Dublin and an MBA from University College Dublin.
Daniel Castro is the director of the Center for Data Innovation and vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Mr. Castro writes and speaks on a variety of issues related to information technology and internet policy, including data, privacy, security, intellectual property, internet governance, e-government, and accessibility for people with disabilities. His work has been quoted and cited in numerous media outlets, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, USA Today, Bloomberg News, and Businessweek. In 2013, Mr. Castro was named to FedScoop’s list of “Top 25 most influential people under 40 in government and tech.” In 2015, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Mr. Castro to the Commerce Data Advisory Council. Mr. Castro previously worked as an IT analyst at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) where he audited IT security and management controls at various government agencies. He contributed to GAO reports on the state of information security at a variety of federal agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In addition, Mr. Castro was a Visiting Scientist at the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he developed virtual training simulations to provide clients with hands-on training of the latest information security tools. He has a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.S. in Information Security Technology and Management from Carnegie Mellon University.
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