Sandro Sinigaglia @ DISUMMIT 2017: “When data and analytics exposes the bad guys?”

DiS17_Speaker_Sandro Sinigaglia

Sandro Sinigaglia is the head of the e-Fraud Competence Center at ING Belgium. He also is a topic leader and lecturer at Solvay Brussels School (ULB) and at international cybersecurity conferences.

Danny Moerenhout is an Expert Process Manager within the Competence Center e-Fraud at ING Belgium.

About Sandro and Danny’s “cat and the mouse” game with cyber criminals

When Sandro and Danny started talking about cybersecurity, the stage became a play simulating the real situations banks are now facing when cybercriminals and black hat hackers pop into scene.

The shift of online banking has opened the doors to create ways to deceive users. Actions like the creation of mule accounts and the proliferation of “spray and pray” malware initially led the banks to work on a sniper view basis, spotting and performing an action to stop a specific criminal.

However, as criminals have been becoming more savvy on banks practices and have reacted accordingly, the bank’s strategy has evolved from sniper to a 360° view,  in which data is the key element to spot patterns and continuously improve list management and rules.

Besides offering a humorous view on the “cat and mouse” game that banks and criminals play, Sandro and Danny made clear that organisations need to abandon a classical segmentation approach and focus more on building algorithms based on behaviour, allowing to connect the dots with social media.

Our favorite phrase from Sandro and Danny’s presentation

“On the internet, nothing is what it seems”


We look forward to meet Sandro and Danny in the future so they can share more insights on the fight against cybercriminals!

Sandro and Danny’s interview:

[to be added asap]

Sandro and Danny’s presentation recording:

Sandro and Danny’s deck:

[to be added asap]

Sandro and Danny’s presentation drawing:


Serge Masyn @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Boost Innovation: Convince your CEO to run a Hackathon” ”

DiS17_Speaker_09:42_Serge Masyn

Serge Masyn is a Director at Johnson and Johnson, where he has been working for almost 20 years, being his current focus the design and implementation of positive identification methodologies of vaccines. Serge believes in collaboration with other organisations as a key factor to achieve improvements in public health.

About Serge  and his experience organising the Dengue Hack

Serge explained to us how viral diseases like dengue pose higher risks than in the past. The evolution in factors like climate change, migration and movement of goods has contributed to the spread of viral diseases like dengue.  Due to the global warming, there are more warm zones where the mosquito can lay its eggs. Derived from mobility, when there was a dengue outbreak in Madeira, the disease soon reached Portugal, as there is constant number of people traveling between the 2 countries. The transportation between continents of goods like tyres (which may contain mosquito’s eggs) increases the possibility that dengue can appear in new regions.

Due to these circumstances, the WHO forecasts that a 50% of the world population is subject to contract it. Hence, it is crucial to monitor the channels in which it is spread and to forecast the outbreaks location and magnitude. This can only be achieved with an analysis of broad and detailed sets of epidemiological, weather, movement of people, movement of tyres, construction sites data. And that is when the idea of a hackathon popped into scene, and Serge got in touch with Philippe, from the Data Innovation Hub, to organise it.

While Serge’s main objective was to crowdsource a solution, he soon realise that the benefits of a hackathon were beyond that. Besides putting together creative minds pooling different approaches to predict dengue outbreaks, it also allowed expanding the company’s network, working with innovative software, and raising awareness on both public health and on the importance of dengue.

Serge wrapped up our interview with the reflection that organising a hackathon brings diversity in perspectives… and that yes, he is open to repeat the experience!.

Our favorite phrase from Serge’s presentation

“Think out of the box, by thinking out of the box”


We look forward to see that, same as Serge, many other companies realise the benefit of organising hackathons!

Serge’s interview:

Serge’s presentation recording:

Serge’s deck:

[To be uploaded asap]

Serge’s presentation drawing:


Geert Verstraeten @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Predicting Absenteeism”

DiS17_Speaker_Geert Verstraeten

Geert Verstraeten is Managing Partner at Python Predictions, a Belgian niche player with expertise in the domain of Predictive Analytics. His ambition is to coach analysts and their managers to become successful with predictive analytics.

About Geert view on how absenteeism can help predicting burn-out

In the current job scenario, in which 2 of 3 workers experience stress, it is crucial to predict when can this situation escalate to burn-out, generating a high financial cost for the companies and having a negative impact on the employee’s health and motivation.  This motivated Geert to develop a model to predict burn-out basing on absenteeism.

Framing the problem in the proper way is key to use data  effectively. In this case, it involved focusing on absenteeism using payroll data and linking it to evaluation scores. This model works best when aggregated to teams, allowing organisations to have a better panorama on how their organisation is performing to build a strategy integrating different departments.

In an era in which the word “burn-out” is frequently mentioned (and feared), it is encouraging to see how data coming from different sources can be used to build healthier job environments.

Our favorite phrase from Geert’s presentation

“Make sure that you are solving  the right problem”


We hope that Geert’s insights can be used in a broader way for spotting burn-out!

Geert’s interview:

Geert’s presentation recording:

Geert’s deck:

[To be uploaded asap]

Geert’s presentation sketch:


Pierre-Nicolas Schwab @ DISUMMIT 2017: “What we desperately need are ethical algorithms”

DiS17_Speaker_11:15_Pierre-Nicolas Schabb

Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is in charge of the Big Data/CRM program at RTBF, the French-speaking public broadcasting organization of Belgium. He holds an MSc in chemistry, a MBA in finance and a PhD in marketing.  As external consultant, he has carried out some 70 assignments in various industries, combining his passion for data and deep interest for consumer behaviors.

About Pierre and setting up rules to have more ethical algorithms

Pierre’s passion for linking data with consumer behaviour led him to share with us why there should be more focus to make algorithms more ethical. While algorithms are present everywhere, people have are just questioning their integrity. Little by little, the dark side of algorithms is becoming more visible, and -most likely- in a deliberate way.

The fact that organisations are using algorithms against the benefit of their user base raises eyebrows and threatens its relationship. For instance, in an era in which “fake news” is a common topic, personalising the content may be perceived as hiding some key facts which provide a full view of the context, breaking the users’ trust. This is crucial for companies like RTBF.

The reality is that algorithms are not neutral, and either by their technical limitations or by the vision of their developers, they pose serious threats. At the end, it is essential to set up rules towards algorithms design and use. This means that the whole algorithm cycle (design, implementation and follow-up) is subject to a transparency and governance process supported by showing the algorithms (taking them out from their “black box”) and educating the users on how the algorithms work.

Organisations need to include rules and procedures towards algorithms. This is key to ensure both a healthy reputation and relationship with their users.

Our favorite phrase from Pierre-Nicolas’s presentation

“Cow-boy behaviors must end!”


We thank Pierre for the handy tips he shared to help organisations to aim for more ethical algorithms, hoping that many organisations consider them!

Pierre’s interview:

Pierre’s presentation recording:

Pierre’s deck:

[To be uploaded asap]

Pierre’s presentation drawing:


Jos Polfliet @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Preventing suicide using text analytics”

Jos Polfliet is a data scientist working for SAS who loves analysing complex problems and predicting the future. He believes in using the power of data to transform and improve the world in almost every field, as he has experienced with the project he came to share at DI Summit.

About Jos sharing how text analytics can prevent suicide

Jos shared his experience in Canada at that the Data Impact Challenge organised by the Canadian organisation Imagine Nation. The challenge Jos and his worked on was on  analysing 1.1 million tweets of Canadian teenagers on bullying and suicidal thoughts to spot patterns which could then be used to develop actions towards youth mental health.

Rather than the award his solution received, what is focal to Jos is how can it be replicated in other locations. During his presentation at DI Summit, Jos requested the attendees to provide leads of people who could help him to replicate the analysis in Belgium. Less than an hour later, he already had 3 leads, some of them related to profiles Jos would not have thought about!

In order to boost the power of data, Jos mainly gets inspired by following people online. He attends offline events mainly for meeting potential partners for projects, and -like he did- to make a call for a specific need.

To wrap up, Jos invited organisations to reflect on the data they have and organise regular review with the business departments to, according to their priorities, crosscheck with the business departments to spot the opportunities and projects which can be developed.

Our favorite phrase from Jos’s presentation

“Don’t let data sitting around without asking what can be done with it”


We hope that Jos keeps on sharing with us how data analysis has been used in different contexts!

Jos’s interview:

Jos’s presentation recording:

Jos’s decks:

[To be uploaded asap]

Jos’s presentation drawing:


Rishi Kumar @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Data for Good, Lesson from the Frontline”

DiS17_Speaker_09:28_Rishi KumarRishi Nalin Kumar is the Chief Scientist at eBench. He is an analytics expert who has worked in the corporate and startup environments while also supports DataKind, which fosters the collaboration between top data scientists and social change organisations in projects to maximise positive social impact.

About Rishi and what ideal data for good projects should have

Rishi visited us from London to share his main lessons as DataKind’s Chapter Lead. He is enthusiastic about having an increasing number of initiatives (like hackathons and organisations -of all kinds-) which have as startpoint a societal challenge requiring solutions via analysing data pools.

His experience in building synergies to use data as  a catalyser for social change has taught him to keep an open mind to changes, as the original objective set for a project may evolve along with its findings. Additionally, Rishi emphasized the importance of involving people with a non-data background in the projects in order to build well-grounded solutions. What is also important to consider is that a project’s good cause requires many other element on board to be successful, and that it is essential to always validate that the following elements are on board:

Relevant data + reliable partner to work with

+ well framed problem + simple solution to be implemented

When asked about what is a major general challenge towards data, Rishi confirmed that  organisations need to update their view towards customer segmentation. The usual approach of defining a very fixed set up rules (for instance, grouping customers by the last way they performed a certain action) is less efficient than considering identity traits to spot behavioural patterns. The complexity involved to do so would certainly worth approaching customers in a more assertive manner.

A takeaway from Rishi’s presentation

“If data is the new oil, privacy is the new climate change”


Looking forward to keep on listening to your lessons on using data for good, Rishi!

Rishi’s interview:

Rishi’s presentation recording:

Rishi’s deck:

Rishi’s presentation’s sketch:


Filip Maertens @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Can A.I. help us build a better world?”

DiS17_Speaker_09:14_Filip Maertens

Filip Maertens is a cyber-security expert. He has worked in the military, intelligence, critical infrastructure and banking industry; both in engineering and project management roles. Besides loving to code software, he also loves dogs, and climbing mountains. You can find more over Filip by visiting his blog:

About Filip’s view on the challenges Artificial Intelligence is facing

Filip kicked off his presentation highlighting how society (ourselves!) have generated a science-fiction fatalist scenario on Artificial Intelligence’s effects, without realising that we are already in the middle of the storm. With personalised news streams sharing fake news and an increasing risk of black-hat hacking, we se how A.I. is being driven by the wrong anchors.

There are specific actions to fix this trend, like adhering to a strong moral code of conduct (which embeds morality into algorithms), reducing bias from training data, and embracing privacy and data protection as an opportunity to do good.

Filip also emphasised the importance to cultivate and embracing the learnings of fields like psychology and philosophy, as this leads to realise the effects (both positive and perilous) of the way algorithms are built.

Last but not least, Filip said that events like Data Summit are the centerpiece of sharing knowledge and congregate people, and to make people reflect about how can ethics can be part in the “chain” running from an algorithm’s data source to the output. He expects that initiatives like the General Data Protection Regulation (GPDR) can spread for a positive use of data.

A takeaway from Filip’s presentation

“Researchers should be driven by curiousness, ethic and morality. Not by law or politics.”


We look forward to talk soon to Filip on the improvement on the use of A.I. for a better world!

Filip’s interview:

Filip’s presentation recording:

To be published soon

Filip’s deck:

Filip’s presentation sketch:


Kirk Borne @ DISUMMIT 2017: “A Data-rich World for a Better World: From Sensors to Sense-Making”

DiS17_Speaker_17:00_Keynote_kirk borneDr. Kirk Borne is a Principal Data Scientist at Booz Allen Hamilton. With a rich background in Astrophysics and Computational Science, he was a precursor on implementing courses of big data in academia. He is one of the most important promotors of data literacy in the world.

About Kirk and his view on data literacy and evolution 

On his first visit to Brussels, Kirk first activity was sharing his best practices to promote data literacy. While enjoying a magnificent  view of Brussels from the ING headquarter building, Kirk playfully (with a pair of socks!) explained how subjectivity plays a major role in the way that data is understood, derived by the wide variety of involved. This keynote was delivered at the speakers reception, which took place the day before the DI Summit.

The following day, Kirk wrapped up the DI summit with his closing keynote on how data has shifted into something that is sense-making, following the evolution from “data” to “big data” into “smart data” composed by both enriched and semantic data and essential for IoT. He also discussed the levels of maturity in a  self-driving enterprise, wrapping up his participation sharing this equation:

Big Data + IoT + Citizen Data Scientists = Partners in Sustainability

Kirk’s impression on the DI Summit was that it was a fun and informative event to join. His favorite format were the 5” pitches, as they were properly structured, providing the most critical information to the attendees. He also think that the networking dynamic ensured that all attendees met interesting people.

A takeaway from Kirk’s presentation

“Big data is not about how big it is, but the value you extract from it”


We look forward to have Kirk sometime soon back in Brussels!

Kirk’s introduction to his DISUMMIT keynote:

Filip’s presentation recording:

To be published soon

Kirk’s presentation deck:

Kirk’s presentation sketch:


Jan Sonck @ DISUMMIT 2017: “Mobile network data, a lever for augmented contextual insights”

DiS17_Speaker_09:00_Jan Sonck

Jan Sonck is the Head of Enterprise Innovation at Proximus, the largest Belgian telecommunications company, where he has also been in charge of Indirect and Multi-Channel Solutions, Marketing and Business Development. Jan is also an experienced marathon runner.

About Jan and how mobile data is being used today

Being a such a large telecommunication company as Proximus gives place to a large set of opportunities to use data, and that is what Jan came to share with us.

The fact of having an increasing  number of people using mobile devices, sketching their digital fingerprint, triggered the collaboration of academia with the telecomm companies to perform joint research offering an overview of the qualitative and quantitative elements the user is considering in his daily life.

Following academia, the collaboration has been extended to other players, such as governmental institutions (at all levels: from municipal to European) and management consulting firms.

These synergies have led to an increasing accuracy on crowd analytics displaying trajectories and new types of visualization (in 2D and 3D). This also involves fusing multiple data sources,  and promoting the importance of open data. The result of this is using mobile data for prediction on a real time basis in different contexts, ranging from large-scale events (for instance, music festivals), air quality, and mobility, among many others.

In a nutshell, collaboration should keep on permeating all sectors, keeping citizens in the loop with the way their data is being used.

A takeaway from Jan’s presentation

“The increasing complexity of data requires to have a deeper sense of collaboration”


We look forward to meet Jan soon so he can tell us how collaboration towards mobile data is evolving!

Jan’s interview:

Jan’s presentation recording:

Jan’s deck:

Jan’s presentation drawing:


Press Release: Introducing the Data Innovation Summit 2017

On Thursday, March 30th, 2017, the 3rd edition of the Annual Data Innovation Summit will take place in Brussels, at the ING Marnix Building. This event, organized by the European Data Innovation Hub, is the #1 Data networking event in Belgium, bringing together the academia, public and private sector to discuss the latest trends on big data. This will be the meeting point for 500 data lovers to learn from top-nodge presentations, workshops and trainings.

During the event, 45 recognized speakers will share their experience related to the edition’s theme “Using data to build a better world”, reflected in the hashtag #Data4Good.  Among them there will be Bianca Debaets (State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region), Elena Bonfliglioli (Senior Director Health Industry EMEA at Microsoft), Kirk Borne (Principal Data Scientist at Booz Allen) and Stephen Brobst (CTO at Teradata) talking about how data, analytics and digitalization can be brought together to make sense in society.

From discussing the realistic perspectives of artificial intelligence to sharing best practices on using analytics to spot cybercriminals, the topics’ spectrum will cover artificial intelligence, machine learning, data driven marketing, social media, health and work performance improvement and many other topics reflecting the outstanding potential offered by data. There will be 10 in depth workshops taking place (5 in the morning and 5 in the afternoon) on digitalization and analytics platforms and software.

Additionally, the winners of the Dengue Hackathon (held on November 2016) will be on stage to receive their prize and share how open data can be used in the fight against dengue.

Hence, as Philippe Van Impe, Founder of the European Data Innovation Hub says:

“This event, and the enthusiasm of the lively community and volunteers supporting it, is a sign on how Belgium is becoming a key player in the European Data Science scene.”

The organizing team looks forward to welcoming the attendants.

For further contact, please refer to the hashtag #DISUMMIT and to the following contact details:

Name of Media Contact: Philippe Van Impe
Title of Media Contact: CEO and Founder
Company Name: European Data Innovation Hub
Contact Phone: 0477 237 842
Contact e-mail:
Website URL :