Digital transformation: The pathway towards “recovering better”

Apr 5, 2021

Digital transformation: The pathway towards  “recovering better”

“Recovering better” after the COVID-19 pandemic includes a change in people’s lifestyles, not only because we had to be creative to deal with the virus, but because it led to a massive amount of  information which ended up becoming an “infodemic” (fake news and misinformation).


Context and objective

“Everything we do now is digital, and any digital transformation is automatically a data transformation,” expressed the Director of Cepei, Philipp Schönrock, at the How to use data to ‘build back better’ post-COVID-19 event, organized by the global Apolitical platform and the United Nations initiative Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS).

To implement a “recover better” strategy, digital transformation and data production are essential. According to the McKinsey report, when the pandemic hit, the digital transformation accelerated from 5 years to 8 weeks. Therefore, organizations have implemented innovative actions to avoid being left behind, facing the pandemic based on four  key points: 1) Evidence to do the best possible; 2) Transparency; 3) Planning and 4) Impact. Digitalization has made it possible for diverse actors to develop a data culture that works to make their own decisions and inform their audiences.


Higlitghts of the intervention

The digital and data transformation brings with it some positive and negative effects. For example, in Cuba, the State has ordered doctors to look into  every home on the island for COVID-19 cases on a daily basis. “The entire organization of the health system must be in close contact with the population, identify health problems as they arise and treat them immediately”. Different from what happens in Brazil, where a lack of information and data persists, and it is the second country with the most deaths and infections detected worldwide.

 To “recover better” through digital transformation and data, Schönrock proposes the following five key points:


Finding facilitators or partners, for example funders. It is possible to be a promoter when you find the right partners.


Investing in data skills. Software such as Mapbox or Tableau improve the processing of data, information and knowledge for the user.


Building a data community. In addition to partners, civil society is a good multiplier of data because it improves results by increasing its use and replicating information.


Experimenting and taking risks. It can be through a brainstorming lab. Artificial intelligence is essential to make scientific data more user-friendly for development professionals.


Communicating and transferring knowledge at a local level and working with different communities.

“Any digital transformation is automatically a data transformation.”

Philipp Schönrock, Director Cepei


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