A Note from the Publisher, BHQ #12

December 19, 2014
Senior Adviser, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Imagine a future where cars drive themselves. Where doctors prescribe medicine formulated for each individual patient. Where farmers measure sunlight and rainfall, not by the acre, but by the foot. It may seem like science fiction, but this incredible future is already here, thanks in large part to the growth of data-driven innovation. In this edition of the Business Horizon Quarterly, we explore the many ways data is improving business, government, and most importantly, people’s lives.

In this issue, we hear about the story of DC Central Kitchen, which uses data to help prepare and distribute meals to thousands of less fortunate people in Washington, DC. We also hear from experts in the healthcare

industry about how data is helping optimize care delivery and improve outcomes. And we hear from technology leaders in the Midwest about data-driven agricultural applications that are making America’s farms more productive and profitable.

This issue comes on the heels of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s year-long examination of the growth of data-driven innovation. We spoke with dozens of experts around the country and produced more than 100 articles and blog posts, as well as a groundbreaking report, The Future of Data-Driven Innovation.

On October 7, I was pleased to speak at the Chamber Foundation’s daylong summit releasing the report and featuring discussion from experts and thought leaders in business and government on how data is impacting and improving their domains. If there was one takeaway from the summit, it’s that the growth of data-driven innovation offers unparalleled opportunity and can be a catalyst for economic growth and a more competitive country.

Yet, despite the evident benefits and near-unlimited potential, this data revolution, sometimes dubbed “Big Data,” is often (and incorrectly) conflated with government data collection and the privacy concerns that raises. It is important for data to be treated carefully and guarded closely, but we must not allow vague concerns to preclude us from the benefits of real innovation. Data, when used responsibly, can be an enormous force for good. It helps businesses develop new products, operate more efficiently, and grow, creating much-needed jobs. The data revolution has enormous benefits for consumers and for the country as a whole.

Like so many of my colleagues across the country and the world, I am excited about the promise of data-driven innovation. Read on to learn more about all of the ways data is making our world a better place.

John R. McKernan Jr. is President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation