RSOG Leadership Foresight Series

Strategic Transformative Journey:

Digital, Data & Decision


Maksim Pecherskiy

When : 6 October 2017
Where : Razak School of Government
Speaker : Maksim Pecherskiy


Framework of the Session

With the dawn of Industry 4.0, technology has cemented its place in today’s evolving world. Without a doubt, a combination of data and leadership are now considered critical competency in charting transformational strategies. In this Leadership Foresight Series, Maksim Pecherskiy, San Diego’s first Chief Data Officer in the Performance & Analytics Department of San Diego will share his authentic leadership experiences in the field of digital leadership and data analytics strategy. The session will also explore the significance of the digital operations landscape, managing transformation as well as organisational and mindset change.

Key Takeaways from the Session

Maksim branded his team as “Data SD”, with a goal to make the life of people in the city of San Diego run smoothly. The birth of under his leadership proved that   a small team can also provide a big impact to society and push boundaries to create things with high value services.

The availability of massive amount of data from various sources in the city of San Diego led to the need to create a system that can process it in the most innovative way. The challenges that existed within the legacy system were too time consuming and hindered things to be done efficiently. Hence, a new open data policy was proposed. The idea was for the city to release data created by the city to the public to spread innovation, to create businesses and eventually build up economic development. An inventory was created based on the data gathered from different people in various departments within the city which later led to the failure of the first portal.

In response to the failure of the first portal, the team decided to build a new portal from scratch called Initiation of Data and Analytic Programme had empowered 3 main user groups; namely the software developers and data scientists, city employees and the residents of the City of San Diego. The highest quality data was formatted to allow any type of software use such as when building an application, and updated regularly from the source system. Subsequently, Poseidon was created to makes data automatically updated.

The Guest Speaker highlighted the need to make sure that the projects are practical in the sense that it is impactful and the outcome eventually makes a difference to the business, the community and the city. Reflecting on his digital leadership, he pointed on the importance to hire the right people to do the job; passionate, curious and not afraid to ask questions. He gave his advice that it is alright to fail and accept failure as part of the work for learning purposes. Before the session ended, he briefly summarised the issue of innovation. The Guest Speaker noted that innovation is about understanding the specific problem by talking to users and making sure clients are happy with the solution or else there would be low acceptance level on the developed system.  He reiterated that problem solving should be done in the simplest possible way and also practical.

Key Issues Raised

  • One of the key competency in the digital age is emotional intelligence. It is greatly needed when dealing with conflict at work by focusing more on work and goals. The Guest Speaker suggested that operational training should be conducted for all levels in the organisation to enhance skills, knowledge and competency in this area.
  • Plan of actions should be strategically done to ensure errors could be  minimised. However, it should also enable innovation to happen. Maksim shared his experience on creating innovation in the public sector. There still are certain issues that need to be revisited such as ways to reduce bureaucracy by creating new things through community empowerment.
  • Technology accelerates at a faster pace and forces personnel to be well equipped with key soft skills such as curiosity and continuous learning. He urged for innovative staff to avoid looking at the world as the way it is and taking it the way it is. He advised to always look at things and say why it works that way, how to make it better and more efficient and find innovative ways to fix the issues. Use of complex software should be avoided in managing data. In addition, there are cost effective systems readily available and an abundance of open sources.
  • On another note, improvement made on existing systems should move towards more sustainable approach to reduce waiting time, energy consumption and carbon emission. The new agenda for business and environmental sustainability has posed a healthy competition which has pushed companies to be more creative and innovative. Digital leaders are encouraged to find the most cost-effective way to solve problems in data identification, storage and utilisation driven by the leader’s core values. If the approach used is not feasible, change it in a way where the goal can still be attainable, creatively.
  • He also cautioned for digital leaders to strategically avoid sensitive data when exploring opportunity to create a new economic development. Strategic preventive measures and resourceful task force  plays an important role to avoid any breach attempt to the system in an organisation.
  • His final advise is for digital leaders to have an ability to look at things from a wider perspective. If the project doesn’t reach the desired expectations, leaders should be able to seek different approaches that are cost effective and efficiently delivered within the time constraint.

About the Guest Speaker

Maksim Percherskiy began serving as San Diego’s first Chief Data Officer in the Performance & Analytics Department in November 2014. He is integral in the implementation of the City’s open data initiative as called for in the One San DiegoTransition Advisory Committee. Maksim has been solving complex problems with technology for nearly a decade. He spent the year before coming to San Diego working as a Code for America fellow in Puerto Rico with a focus on economic development. Before moving to California, Maksim was a Solutions Architect at Promet Source where he built large web systems and designed complex integrations. He also shaped development processes and led international development teams.


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