Emer Coleman

Leading digital authority to speak about her UK digital co-op group.

Adelaide – The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) today announced Emer Coleman will be the keynote speaker at its 2018 Leaders’ Summit being held on 14 and 15 November in Adelaide. Ms. Coleman has a wealth of experience spanning technology, open data, social media, communications and engagement and organisational change.  She works on Technology Engagement for Co-op Digital and is helping to build The Federation, an open community of digital businesses and innovators, built on co-operative values. Ms. Coleman is the founder of DSRPTN Digital and Technology Consultancy and has worked in local, regional and central government in the UK.

Speaking about bad data, Emer Coleman said, “A lot of the learning is asynchronous – very senior leaders running ahead trying to wrap their heads around things like blockchain, AI, open banking when those in their organisation are buried in bad tech (including data blindness) that’s crippling the business. And there are other impacts in a recent blog that I wrote where I referred to in the call – impacts that are happening at a much lower level but having deep societal impacts on people’s lives and agency.” (Read the blog)

“IMHO leaders need to frame their thinking around balancing three things people, privacy and profit – using this lens you can take a more holistic look. i.e. you might want to use data to drive your business but what is the privacy exchange for your users? What’s the balance between privacy and profit? I’ll be including this concept in my talk. And the problem with the Silicon Valley model is that it is completely devoid of any ethics whatsoever so are they really the people that we should be learning from? I’d argue they have more to learn from us when it comes to ethical approaches to developing technology – such as we are exploring in The Federation. Also the Silicon Valley model is predicated on a green field approach – they had no legacy to begin with – this is simply not the case with most large organisations so unless you are going to throw everything out and start again… And don’t get me started on setting up internal incubators or “Intrepreneurs” as somebody called them recently – these invariably are regarded as a nice side show to keep the digital folk quiet and they rarely carry any weight across traditional businesses.”

“In my experience senior leaders can be a bit put off by very high level discussions of technology – as with AI, Blockchain etc these are all important things of course in the future but the reality is we are quite a while away from meaningful implementation of these kinds of technology in a lot of sectors. And they are so shiny, people get blinded by their promise – while the actual work of real and meaningful digital transformation is all about culture change – and that’s a people thing – not a technology thing. Getting the London Datastore up and running in City Hall in London had nothing to do with data really – it had everything to do with working with risk averse public servants and bringing them on a journey.

“We are delighted that Emer Coleman will be joining us and we look forward to hearing how she has taken the theology that is at the core of our members’ businesses and our own organisation and has been applying it to the data sector,” said, Melina Morrison, BCCM’s CEO. “It makes perfect sense to gather leading data experts in a co-operative scenario.  Members of that group benefit by having more experts collaborating to find solutions to complex problems. It lessens the burden of finding solutions on a single organisational basis. Data needs vary from sector to sector and the only truly universal solutions will be found by sharing information and co-operative work.”

Ms. Coleman established the London Data Store whilst she was working as Director of Digital Project in City Hall London and is a Non-Executive Director of TransportAPI, an SME powering change and innovation in transport. With a background in open data, technoethics, engagement and organisational change, Ms. Coleman is the former chair of the Open Data Governance Board advising the Irish Government on the Open Data Strategy.

Since leaving Government Digital Services (GDS) Ms. Coleman has been helping large organisations and C Suite Leaders understand the challenge of digital transformation at scale. This includes: threats to their business models, the challenge of communications, culture change, along with new leadership behaviours. 

Ms. Emerson lives in Manchester.

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