29 de nov. 2014

Data: the most valuable commodity

Data is becoming a "commodity". The important point today is HOW we USE the data NOT the data itself. The data itself is like a barrel of oil: It's basically the same product regardless of the producer.

If we believe in this idea we could understand also that the current definition of "personal data" is evolving. The report published by World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group in 2013 Unlocking the value of personal data: from collection to usage (2013) explains how the world and the use of personal data are changing:

"What is considered personal data is increasingly contextual; it changes with personal preferences, new applications, context of uses, and changes in cultural and social norms. Traditionally, organizations have used a variety of techniques to de-identify data and create value for society while protecting an individual’s privacy. Such data was not subject to the same rules as the Personal Identificable Information (PII) as an individual could not be identified from it.

Today technological advances and the ability to associate data across multiple sources is shifting boundaries of what is or is not PII, including potential re-identification of previously anonymized data.

This issue is the subject of significant debate with some arguing that this means that all data is effectively personally identifiable and should be treated as such. Others urge caution, arguing that this would curtail many of the beneficialuses of anonymous data with minimal gains in privacy. A shift in approach to thinking less about the data and more about the usage could offer a way forward.

If the usage impacts an individual directly it would require different levels of governance than data which is used in an aggregated and anonymized manner.

photo: (*) Photosolde

28 d’oct. 2014

What motivates people to display philanthropic behaviour?

The main drivers of philanthropic donation behaviour are defined by Eight Mechanisms:
  1. Awareness of need
  2. Solicitation
  3. Costs and benefits
  4. Altruism
  5. Reputation
  6. Psychological benefits; impure altruims or warm glow
  7. Values
  8. Efficacy
I would like to focuse in the concepts of altruism, warm glow and efficacy.
  • Altruism: Acts of philanthropy can be inspired by a ‘true’ or ‘pure’ concern for the well-being of recipients or the creation of a public good or service. People simple demand more for the public good.
  • Impure altruism or warm glow: Some people get some private benefits (positive reputation, a sense of duty or satisfaction... ) from their gift per se, like a "warm glow". Its a selfish motive but with no bad connotations.
  • Efficacy: People are more likely to engage in philanthropic behaviour when they perceive their contribution to be more effective.
These concepts are not contradictories, but probably the mechanisms of donation could differ if your are a small donor, a big philantropist or your are company. Probably you will put emphasis or priorizes these three concepts in a different way.

Acces to related articles (in pdf):
pd: Discussion cycle in Barcelona organized by Ivàlua and Obra social "la Caixa" New Forms of Philanthropy and Social Transformation

photo: (*) Photosolde

24 de set. 2014

from old managers to the young ones: emerging-markets growth, disruptive technology, and aging populations

Managers aim to improve their performance every day, but in many cases, doing a little better is not enough. Change is hard and risky. Many managers wait until their backs are against the wall before they start rethinking their bussiness models. Social scientists and behavioral economists find that we "human beings" are biased toward the status quo and resist changing our assumptions and approaches even in the face of the evidence. Is this true for the new Millenial-Y generation or it will be different?

To celebrate McKinsey Quarterly’s 50th anniversary Mckinsey has published this article about Management intuition for the next 50 years

The collision of technological disruption, rapid emerging-markets growth, and widespread aging are the three causes that will put the new managers at the edge of a cliff:
Related post: Where are we?

21 de jul. 2014

International Day Surgery activity: how many doctors are interested in looking that?

OECD Health Statistics 2014 (the new name of the online database OECD Health Data) offers the most comprehensive source of comparable statistics on health and health systems across OECD countries. It is an essential tool to carry out comparative analyses and draw lessons from international comparisons of diverse health systems.

One interesting area to compare is the surgical procedures, specially the variations between countries using day surgery. OECD compares data from 1990 until now of a short list of surgical procedures like cataract, tonsillectomy, repair of inguinal hernia or cholescystectomy... showing the total number of procedures performed as inpatient cases, day cases or in certain instances, as outpatient cases. Also as a percentage and per 100.000 population

Some questions a doctor observing data should ask himself:
  • Why our country is different from countries like us?
  • Why are we doing less/more day surgery than others?
  • Are these variations reflecting innapropiate use of inpatien rates?
  • Are we under-use some recommended practice?
  • Are the incentives payment affect our surgical decisions?
  • Is the property of hospital affecting? public vs private hospital
  • Is an organizational matter? how the hospital is organized
  • Is a problem of my department?
Related Publications: OECD 2012. How many surgical procedures performed as inpatient and day cases

Definition: Day surgery.
  • Day-care discharge: Is the release of a patient who was formally admitted in a hospital for receiving planned medical and paramedical services, and who was discharged on the same day.
  • Outpatient: Procedures on patients who are not formally admitted in hospital or in any other health care facility: 1) Procedures performed in outpatient departments in hospitals;: 2) Procedures performed in emergency departments; 3) Procedures performed outside hospitals (ambulatory sector).
Photo: W. Eugene Smith—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Dr. Ernest Ceriani makes a house call on foot, Kremmling, Colo., 1948.

19 de juny 2014

Catalan Results Centre Reports in Health: a transparency and benchmark step

The Catalana Results Centre is a tool that measures, evaluates and disseminates the results achieved in the field of health care for members of the various agents Integrated Public Use Healthcare System of Catalonia. The Results Centre also measure, evaluates and disseminates biomedical research centers and institutes of health research.

It's a potent tool for transparency and benchmarking and to facilitate joint decision making for the quality of the health care delivered to the population of Catalonia.
  • Here you will find the latest reports of these topics here: Latest reports
  • If you want to download the data you can go to the tab "Open Data" or the section "Results of your center. You could download in excel or csv format all data: Open Data
Now you can dowload the results about biomedical research 2012 data. Basic and applied research realized by our hospitals and research centers. Data about inputs, outputs and less outcomes.
This effort to put all the results together is the first step to compare and think:
  • Are we doing "too much" research? 
  • Are we doing "relevant research". 
The answer is: Less Research, Better Research, Relevant Research: Related post
"That's one small step for a man, one gian leap for mankind".

Photo: Ralph Morse—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images. Portraits of Smokers in 1964, When Cigarettes Were First Called Killers. Not published in LIFE. "Among graduates of college, the death rate was 1,439 [per 100,000] for smokers, 676 for those who did not smoke."

31 de maig 2014

Working at a high level takes discipline, knowledge... and time

Less Micro-management more Meso-management: Some interesting reports about Boards:

Report 1: McKinsey: High-performing boards: What’s on their agenda? Survey Results
The survey revealed dramatic differences in how directors allocated their time among boardroom activities and, most tellingly, in the respondents’ view of the effectiveness of their boards. More than one in four of the directors assessed their impact as moderate or lower, while others reported having a high impact across board functions. So what marks the agenda of a high-performing board?

Report 2: Position paper about High performance boards by Canadian Coalition for Good Governance
Guideline 1. Facilitate shareholder democracy
Guideline 2. Ensure at least two thirds of directors are independent of management
Guideline 3. Separate the roles of Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer

Guideline 4. Ensure that directors are highly competent and bring the requisite knowledge and experience to the board
Guideline 5. Ensure that the goal of every director is to make integrity the hallmark of the corporation
Guideline 6. Establish reasonable compensation and share ownership guidelines for directors
Guideline 7. Evaluate board, committee and individual director performance

Guideline 8. Establish mandates for board committees and ensure committee independence
Guideline 9. Adopt well defined board processes and procedures that support board independence.
Guideline 10. Oversee Strategy
Guideline 11. Oversee risk management
Guideline 12. Assess the Chief Executive Officer and plan for succession
Guideline 13. Develop and oversee executive compensation plans

Guideline 14. Report governance policies and initiatives to shareholders
Guideline 15. Engage with shareholders

Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images. Mansfield, Ohio June 1941

9 de maig 2014

The rights of the Child. Nothing more to say about child poverty

20.2 % of children under 16 years of age are poor in Europe. 25% in SPAIN (2012)

"Child poverty, probably the most visible effect on children of the economic crisis and fiscal austerity measures, has a potentially devastating, long-term impact, given that it tends to be one of the major root causes of poverty and social exclusion in adulthood".

Some reports to think about the children poverty in Spain, Europe.
  1. Comissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe (2013) Report after the Spain Visit
  2. Save the children (2014) Pobreza infantil y exclusión social en Europa
  3. Creu Roja (2013) 4rt estudi Observatori Vulnerabilitat: Infància i entorn escolar
  4. Inequality Watch (2012) Poverty in Europe
The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union Article 24: The rigths of the child
  1. Children shall have the right to such protection and care as is necessary for their well-being. They may express their views freely. Such views shall be taken into consideration on matters which concern them in accordance with their age and maturity.
  2. In all actions relating to children, whether taken by public authorities or private institutions, the child's best interests must be a primary consideration.
  3. Every child shall have the right to maintain on a regular basis a personal relationship and direct contact with both his or her parents, unless that is contrary to his or her interests.
2014: 25 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child United Nations

Something more to say?
photo: (*) Photosolde

2 de maig 2014

how to avoid innovation policy evaluation simply end up on shelves unread or ignored

New World Bank-OECD 214 publication.Making Innovation Policy Work: Learning from Experimentation

This book explores emerging topics in innovation policy for more inclusive and sustainable growth, building on concrete examples. It develops the notion of experimental innovation policy – which integrates monitoring and feedback at the policy design stage, and occurs continuously to improve impact and implementation. This approach should help improve the quality and efficiency of public expenditures supporting innovation policy.

Special mention to the chapter 8 (by Eric Oldsman): Making evaluations count: Toward more informed policy: Read online

The chapter explores the role and the difference of monitoring and evaluation and its influence on policy design.

Recognising the importance of innovation, governments around the world have launched policies aimed at accelerating the development and application of technology. In many instances, the allocation of resources has been accompanied by calls for meaningful measurement of results and greater accountability. This is particularly true in an era of tight budgets and fiscal austerity.

Organisations are therefore placing greater emphasis on trying to measure their performance. Reciting the mantra – “what gets measured gets done” – more and more organisations are picking particular aspects of performance to measure and then devote significant resources to collecting data and reporting results. However, there is evidence that much of this effort may be wasted. To be useful, the right things need to be measured in the right way.

As importantly, data need to be turned into information, information into insights, and insights into action. This implies that performance measurement should be embedded in a broader evaluation system, which fosters critical thinking and continuous improvement as part of a policy cycle.

Organisations need to make sure to count what is important and count it correctly. However, while necessary, organisations need to go well beyond simply measuring performance. They need to focus attention on determining the factors that underlie performance, diagnosing the root cause of any identified deficiencies, in order to take appropriate corrective action. They also need to consider a broad range of issues that do not lend themselves easily to measurement. More generally, critical thinking – an ability to state questions clearly, marshal valid and reliable information, weigh evidence, assess the strength of arguments, recognise implicit assumptions and values, and draw reasoned conclusions – needs to be encouraged throughout the organisation.

Formative evalutions are critically important. They provide an opportunity for organisations to examine accepted truths, questioning the justification for specific claims and calling attention to unstated assumptions.

Clearly, organisations need to establish the technical capacity to undertake evaluations successfully. As importantly, to realise the full promise of using evaluations to inform policy, senior managers must actively support the process and cultivate a culture of learning.

photo: NASA
After launching on March 3, 1969, the crew of Apollo 9 spent 10 days in low Earth orbit. On the fifth day of mission, Jim McDivitt and Russell Schweickart separated the Lunar Module from the command ship and flew it for the first time — 145 miles over the Atlantic Ocean.

7 d’abr. 2014

What if countries competed with each other to become the most socially innovative in the world?


The Social Progress Imperative, is a nonprofit in the United States created in 2012. They are the autors of the Social Progress Index launched in April 2013.

The Social Progress Index offers a measure of the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing.

The methodology for the Social Progress Index was developed and refined under the leadership of Social Progress’s Advisory Board Chair, Professor Michael Porter of Harvard Business School, with guidance from Advisory Board members Matthew Bishop, Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation, Hernando de Soto of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy, and Scott Stern of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The conceptual underpinnings draw heavily on the work done by Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi for France’s Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress.

The Three dimensions of the social progress index
  • Basic human needs: Does a country provide for its people’s most essential needs?
  • Foundations of wellbeing: Are the building blocks in place for individuals and communities to enhance and sustain wellbeing?
  • Opportunity: Iss there opportunity for all individuals to reach their full potential?
Some Findings
  • Social progress is distinct from economic development, though correlated with it.Some countries with low GDP per capita are able to achieve surprising levels of social progress, while some relatively prosperous nations register levels of social progress lower than less wealthy countries. Explicitly distinguishing social progress from economic development allows us to gain deeper insight into each one.
  • Some aspects of social progress are more closely related to the level of economic development than others.
  • There is no single measure that captures all aspects of social progress.Each dimension is distinct from the others, and each component within each dimension is also distinct.
  • Countries have relative strengths and weaknesses in social progress, both across dimensions and across components within dimensions. These strengths and weaknesses set the social progress agenda for each country.
Watch the video: Video
Social Progress Index 2014: Acces to 2014 data
Where are we?: SPAIN
photo: (*) Photosolde 

7 de març 2014

data is now touching everyone lifes

Individuals are tracking a variety of health-related data via a growing number of wearable devices and smartphone apps.

More and more data relevant to health are also being captured passively as people communicate with one another on social networks, shop, work, or do any number of activities that leave “digital footprints.

Almost all of these forms of “personal health data” (PHD) are outside of the mainstream of traditional health care, public health or health research. Medical, behavioral, social and public health research still largely rely on traditional sources of health data such as those collected in clinical trials, sifting through electronic medical records, or conduct ing periodic surveys.

Self-tracking data can provide better measures of everyday behavior and lifestyle and can fill in gaps in more traditional clinical data collection,giving us a more complete picture of health.

With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Health Data Exploration (HDE) project conducted a study to better understand the barriers to using personal health data in research from the individuals who track the data about their own personal health, the companies that market self-tracking devices, apps or services and aggregate and manage that data, and the researchers who might use the data as part of their research.

Acces Report (pdf): PERSONAL HEALTH DATA

photo: (*) Photosolde 

7 de febr. 2014

Think tanks ranking

A think tank (or policy institute, research institute, etc.) is an organization that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, defense, science and technology, and culture. Most policy institutes are non-profit organizations. Other think tanks are funded by governments, advocacy groups, or businesses, or derive revenue from consulting or research work related to their projects

The University of Pennsylvania has published its 7th annual 2013 The Global Go To Think Tank Index (GGTTI). A ranking of more thant 6,500 thinks tanks all over the world. The Index has become the gold standard for think tanks and is widely cited by governments, donors, journals and policymakers as the foremost profile and performance of think tanks in every region of the world.


Top Think Tank worldwide: Brookings Institution (United States)
Top Heath Policy: Cambridge Centre for Health Services Research (United Kingdom)
Top Science and Technology: Max Planck Institute (German)

In Spain:
Top think tanks worldwide:
#60 FAES
Science and Technology: #28. Fundación de la Innovación Bankinter

photo: Robert W. Kelley—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Ken Isaacs (front) and a colleague work on the outside of Isaccs' "knowledge box," Chicago, 1962


12 de gen. 2014

Biocat 2013 report: Catalan life science statuts and analysis

The 2013 Biocat Report shows that the life sciences sector in Catalonia has reached a turning point.

We are facing two key challenges: generating and capturing value, on one hand, and promoting growth, on the other.  And this is at a difficult moment, marked by a profound economic crisis and changes in the research and production models that are affecting the sector.

The analysis in the chapters of the report identifies challenges for all of the stakeholders in the BioRegion, both public and private. The data shows:
  • We must maintain support for innovation and entrepreneurship in the public arena —seeking out maximum efficiency in management of the knowledge generated and its transfer.
  • We must also encourage companies —large and small— to participate in international research programs and public-private partnerships in order to bring innovation to the market and, in short, to the people.
  • We must promote growth, establishing measures that facilitate market access and internationalization, but also guidance programs to support project maturation.
Europe will be key over the coming two years —launch of the Horizon 2020 program, defining RIS3 strategies, calls for the European Institute of Innovation and Technology’s KIC— but success will depend in large part on the players in the ecosystem aligning under a common vision.

Català Document complet (PDF)
English Executive Summary (PDF)  The full English version will be available shortly
Castellano Resumen Ejecutivo (PDF)

photo: © Dani: Creative Commons ShareAlike licence