Don’t hunt for data unicorns, they don’t exist

“There’s no one individual who can be all of what a so-called data unicorn is,” says Daniel Jimenez, Data-driven agronomy leader.

If I want to know how climate might affect farmers over the next few months, I’d go to another team at CIAT that does seasonal weather forecasting.

We normally combine the forecast with information that helps farmers make better decisions, such as when exactly and which varieties to plant during a particular season. We then share this forecast with farmers’ associations, which can disseminate the information to their members.

That’s what data science is about — a collaboration among experts from various areas. Without that collaboration, I and several colleagues wouldn’t have the honor of being twice recognized by the United Nations for using big data (2014) and information and communications technologies to address climate change (2017).

Data unicorns are a myth — plain and simple. What any organization needs to do is to build a team of experts whose skills complement each other and work with external specialists if needed so they can make magic to develop real-world solutions.

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May 3, 2018

Daniel Jimenez

Cali, Colombia

This article’s original version is posted on Medium/CIAT Insights.