A modern idiot’s guide to data driven communications

Scott Forrest, Finland

Originally from British Columbia, Canada, Scott came as an exchange student to the University of Lapland from the University of Northern British Columbia in 1997. He has been involved since the beginning of UArctic's development at the International Secretariat. He has a Master's degree in International Studies from UNBC, and has also worked at the University of Lapland's Arctic Centre as academic coordinator of the Arctic Studies Program.


As our organizations collect more and more data – particularly personal data – how can we find solutions that help us, rather than bury us, in meaningless unconnected information?

While modern data-driven communication tools make it easier and easier to develop rich information about relationships with our key constituents (students, prospects, faculty/staff, alumni, donors, and international partners) institutions face major organizational challenges in being able to handle this data and use it effectively. Not least among those challenges are the new European regulations to ensure the protection of personal data (General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR). Developing solutions that harness 'big data' to provide organizational intelligence requires an extensive evaluation and consultative process across the whole organization to identify needs, map existing processes and data registries, and to work with key units including recruitment and admissions, study affairs, alumni relations, communications and IT. Selecting and implementing the platform is only a small piece of this puzzle.

This workshop will use a case study from the University of the Arctic - a large network organisation of universities in the circumpolar region - as they stumble through this process, developing organisational learning that can also be of use to your institution.