On April 13th 2017 the first Meetup of Milano Data Science For Social Good took place, hosted by Avis Milano, one of the biggest blood donation centre in the city.
The meeting was organized by Carlo Torniai, Head of Data Science and Analytics at Pirelli, and by Alberto Prospero, Data Scientist at Nextbit and Founder of HeartInData.
The initiative was well-embraced by about fifty attendees. Everyone was very interested in sharing experiences on how Data Science could be employed for high social impact projects.
Carlo Torniai introduced the event, recalling his first contact with the Data Science for Social Good movements back in the Silicon Valley, bringing up inspiring examples such as DataKind and Code4Cood Hackathons. According to him, Milan can denitely be the right place in Italy where public administration, local government, non-profit organizations with aspirant Data Scientists and seasoned Data Professionals can cooperate in order to use data for providing insights that impact social good.
Lorenzo Lipparini, city councillor in charge of active citizenship and Open Data, discussed the importance of Data Science in municipalities as Milan. He encouraged non-profit initiatives, as the newborn CioccoData, that can bring innovation and wellness to the society through the conscious use of data.
Sergio Casartelli, general director of Avis Milano, wanted to thank HeartInData for the support, helping his organization with its project. Sergio explained the challenges in forecasting blood donations, due to the fact that donors have cyclical behavior easily influenced by tragic events as, for example, earthquakes. He also mentioned the new project about to be carried out by HeartInData on the influence and effect of lack of vitamin D.
The core of the event was the presentation of HeartInData (Facebook|LinkedIn|Twitter|Instagram). HID, based in Milan, is among the pioneers of the ds4sg movement in Italy. Its team is made up of enthusiastic data professionists with different backgrounds (Maths, Statistics, Engineering, Physic, Computer Science and Economy). They first presented their Manifesto of values, nicely summed up into the acronym H (help) – E (enjoyment) – A (ascent) -R (reliability) – T (talents). HeartInData is currently working for two organizations to accomplish their high social impact projects: AVIS Milano (blood donation center) and AVSI Foundation (co-operation for development and education). An extract of the work done for AVIS was shown during the event. They identified the profile of the best donor and which areas of Milan are the most suitable for recluting new donors through marketing campaigns and they also analyzed the change of donors’ behavior over the years, as result of an incentive for free check ups. These results were achieved combining statistics with mathematical modelling, open source technologies (e.g. Python programming language and Google APIs) and Open Data of the Municipality of Milan.
Michele Tizzoni, Principal Resercher at ISI Foundation, congratulated HeartInData for its work and further stressed the importance of Data Science for Social Good projects, as seen at Data4Good Meetings last winter. He also talked about the importance of communities and events where people can meet and gather, such as this Meetup or the DataBeers Torino events (Alberto was actually among the speakers in their last event DataBeers To #9).
A group of Data Scientists from Brazil (Irio Musskopf, Felipe B Cabral and Ana Schwendler) attending the Meetup took also the chance to talk about their project, Serenata De Amor, that applies artificial intelligence in the public institutional field in order to fight corruption.
The Meetup ended in front of an hand-crafted beer at Birrificio di Lambrate, where people kept on discussing and networking in a friendly and informal atmosphere.