The D'Amore-McKim School of Business DATA Initiative hosted the inaugural DATA Forum earlier this month at Northeastern University. Thought leaders convened for a day-long event that explored how data and people can be effectively combined to enhance organizational change.

The event was organized by DATA Co-founder and Director Koen Pauwels, DATA Co-founder and Director Yakov Bart and Executive Director of DATA Kwong Chan.

“There are three basic literacies that any learner should have for thriving in the 21st century: technology, data, and human,” said Dunton Family Dean Raj Echambadi. “These three competencies are what we call humanics, the integration of uniquely human skills that will make us robot-proof. We need to prepare students and learners to not only be competent with data, but to be thoughtful, insightful, and meaningful decision makers. This is where this DATA Initiative began.”

Keynote Speakers were Scott Brinker, VP of Platform Ecosystem, HubSpot and Nitin Mittal, Principal, Analytics & Cognitive Offering Leader, AI Strategic Growth Offering Leader, Deloitte.

The panel titled “Digital Transformation – Are We There Yet?” included Andrew Bentley, Partner, PwC; Matthew Blonder, Global Head of Marketing, Brand Management & Digital Commerce, Reebok; Blair Hammond, Director of Global Marketing, Reebok; Rishi Saurabh, Senior Product Manager, Analytics, Philips; Matthew Smith, Principal Data Scientist, City of Boston; and Glen Stoffel, Founder, Thinkitdone. It was moderated by Koen Pauwels.

The panel titled “Opportunities and Challenges of Machine Learning Applications” included Adam Askarian, Head of Data Science and Engineering, the dtx company; Sam Bishop, Head of Product Analytics, Hubspot; Erdogan Cesmeli, Head, Go to Market for Watson Health Hybrid & Multicloud Ecosystem, IBM Watson Health; Julia Kirby, Senior Editor, Harvard University Press; Sri Krishnamurthy, Founder of; and Jim Rowan, Principal, Analytics & Cognitive Practice, Deloitte. It was moderated by Christo Wilson.

In addition, the DATA Initiative and DATA Club, in conjunction with the City of Boston analytics team, created a Visualization Challenge for Northeastern students, “Better Biking in Boston.” This challenge encouraged teams to establish how biking in Boston can be safer, enjoyable, and more effective for cyclists. Entrants standardize their bike visualizations using Tableau, who provided software support for the challenge.

In less than two weeks from the announcement of the challenge, teams delivered a sophisticated set of solutions, incorporating dynamic time-series trends across databases, sheltered bike lanes, and the potential role of weather in bike safety.

Participants included Kyoka Allen, DMSB'21; Mohamed Nadeem Ameerdeen, MS'19; Brittnee Braun, COS'21; Andrew Freeman, COS'22; Benjamin Fox, E'23; Dillshini Hettige, DMSB'19; Andrew Johnson, COS'22; Alexander Leon, DMSB/Khoury'23; Justin Miller, E'23; Daniel Peluso, E'21; Jack Rosen, Khoury College'22; Akshaya Munusamy Sivaiah; Krish Sharma, DMSB'23; Daniel Silver, E/MS'22, MS'19; Carrie Tam, E'23; Hongyu Tao, DMSB/Khoury'19, Sahar Tariq'21; and Mahitha Valluru, DMSB/Khoury'20.

Teams included Biker's App, Braingerous and Dangerous, CarFox, Chain Reaction, Cyclo-Analysts, FreeData, #NUExchange, Scissors, Staples, and a Bottle of Purell, and Team BosVis.

City of Boston Principal Data Scientist Dr. Matthew Smith presented the following awards to Challenge winners at the event:

  • First Place: “#NUExchange” with Dillshini Hettige and Hongyu Tao (This team also won the People's Choice Award)
  • Second Place: “Cycle-Analysts” with Justin Miller
  • Third Place: “CarFox” with Benjamin Fox and Carrie Tam
  • Special Creative Visualization Award: “Chain Reaction” with Mahitha Valluru

Interested in watching every team's solution video? Check them out at the links below:

Biker's App

Braingerous and Dangerous


Chain Reaction




Scissors, Staples, and a Bottle of Purrell

Team BosVis