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A Deep Dive into the Intersection of Data, AI, and Human-Centered Design 

Dana Montenegro

Summary: U.S. Census Data Symposium discussion included Wovenware’s Service Design lead.

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Dana Montenegro, the Chief Design Officer at Wovenware, recently delivered a captivating keynote address at the U.S. Census Data Symposium. This prestigious event, organized by the U.S. Census Bureau in collaboration with the Puerto Rico IT Cluster’s CIO & IT Leadership Conference, brought together thought leaders and tech experts to explore the pivotal role of data in our rapidly evolving world. The symposium provided a platform for brilliant minds in technology and data to share cutting-edge insights and transformative ideas aimed at driving meaningful change. 

Joining Dana Montenegro on the stage were fellow panelists Coral Cotto Negrón, a seasoned expert in product management and founder of CTTO.tech, Charlie Fuentes. Together, they not only shed light on the intricacies of data-driven innovation but also emphasized the significance of designing technology with a focus on societal improvement, forging partnerships, and challenging the status quo to create a brighter future.  e. 

Data: The New Oil Fueling Puerto Rico’s AI Ascent 

One central theme of the symposium revolved around the indispensable role of data as the lifeblood of artificial intelligence and innovation. Drawing a parallel with the industrial era’s reliance on oil, the symposium underscored that data has now become a valuable global commodity. In the context of Puerto Rico, the event stressed the paramount importance of effective data governance, particularly in less-than-ideal environments.  

Robust data governance means establishing processes, policies, and standards to ensure data quality, integrity and privacy, even when dealing with imperfect data. This comprehensive approach to data governance addresses issues such as data quality, the need to ensure clean and classified data and supplementing data when needed, which all leads to data-driven decision-making. With better data, Puerto Rico can formulate improved policies, deliver more efficient services, and foster innovation across various sectors of its economy. 

 

Placing People at the Heart of Technology 

The symposium emphasized the imperative of designing technology with a human-centric approach that goes beyond mere user experience. It’s about understanding and addressing the needs, aspirations, and concerns of individuals and communities. Dana Montenegro and the other panelists stressed the importance of inclusive design, ensuring that technology should be accessible and usable by people of all abilities and backgrounds. 

The panel argued that technology must be designed to accommodate a diverse range of users and not leave anyone behind. Dana, Coral, and Charlie emphasized the significance of involving end-users in the design and decision-making processes, leading to more relevant and impactful technology solutions tailored to the community’s needs. 

Collaboration and Open Innovation 

 

Collaboration emerged as a recurring theme at the symposium. The panelists underscored that solving complex problems in the age of AI requires the combined efforts of both government and the private sector. They stressed the need for governments and businesses to be open to external input and collaborations to foster creativity and address pressing challenges more effectively. 

Solving Problems by Looking Upstream 

The concept of “looking upstream” to identify the root causes of problems was explored by the panelist Jennifer Pahlka, author of Recoding America: Why Government is Failing in the Digital Age and How We Can Do Better. She discussed the importance of going beyond superficial solutions and addressing the underlying issues. Technology is often not the core problem; instead, it is policy, regulation or traditional approaches that require reform. 

As we stand at the crossroads of data, AI and human-centered design, the U.S. Census Data Symposium presents a challenge: Will we rise to become the architects of change, the champions of innovation, and the advocates of a brighter, more inclusive future? It urges us to consider every problem with an open heart, a curious mind, and a dedication to making a tangible impact. The symposium’s insights serve as a compass guiding us toward a future where technology, data, and humanity harmoniously unite to craft something truly extraordinary. So, the pivotal question we must ask ourselves is: Are we prepared to embark on this transformative journey collectively, and how can each of us contribute to this momentous endeavor? 

U.S. Census Data Symposium: Wovenware’s Human-Centered AI

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