It’s amazing to be part of such a huge transformational shift
I joined LV= GI as Head of Data Science three and a half years ago. Since then, my team and our remit has grown significantly in line with the results we've delivered. We started off as four people and we're now a team of 40! It’s down to us to turn data into action via machine learning - building models off the data we already have in order to influence future business decisions. Traditional Data Science teams can be very siloed; they sit on the outskirts and they do their own thing. At LV= GI, we've taken a completely different approach. We've got a collaborative working model; our people pull together - within the team and across the wider business too.
At LV= GI, every team’s central focus is putting customers first - and we’re no different. Everyone shares that same vision and I think it helps us to always do the right thing. We are changing the way LV= GI functions in a positive way, both in terms of growth and profitability, and for our customers as well. There's an ever-increasing appetite within the business to do more from a machine learning perspective, so the Data Science team gets a lot of attention. It’s amazing to be part of such a huge transformational shift.
Progression and recognition
LV= GI gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills by enrolling me in the Warwick Business School Leadership program. I’m delighted to have been recognised as a potential future leader and part of this is helping others develop. I'm very very keen on personal development for everyone in the team. It’s a leader’s responsibility to create and develop others to lead.
Success for me is having the biggest possible impact on LV= GI as an organization and its customers. I’m very happy with how we’re progressing. Although I'm leading the team, everybody has played their part in our success to date. It's very much a team effort. We’ve got more of a family type setup than a traditional team - it's just the way we are and the way we work. There's no real hierarchy - everyone speaks to everyone, because we all have the same vision and goals. We’re all very close because we enjoy what we do and how we work together. It's a nice setup - I think everyone wants to be here.
The way we work is very value driven. We have our own values, which are a slight twist on the LV= GI ones, and we put them at the forefront of everything we do. For us, it's not just what you do, it's how you do it too, hence we don’t just hire for technical ability, team-fit is also very important.
We’re delighted to have received recognition from industry leaders such as Microsoft, who speak very highly of us. They said we’re the leading Data Science team that they work with across all financial services in the UK! It's very reassuring that such a big name says we’re the leading entity in financial services. And we're very lucky to have a relationship with Microsoft where it works both ways; we get to help develop the best possible solutions for them, and then we're one of the first users once it's developed.
As a team, we do a lot of training for people at different levels. We hold a monthly Data Science Forum where we demystify machine learning and AI - explaining key terms and topics to the general public. We also run monthly mentoring sessions, upskilling colleagues from across the business who want to get involved in data science. And we offer secondments into the team as well.
I think if you're looking to truly transform the business, you need people at every single level to understand why we're moving in this direction. And if we can work to help educate people and remove any fears, concerns or misinterpretations they have, it goes a very long way. There's a lot of preconceptions about machine learning and AI, so we educate people to understand where there are risks, where there aren't, and what we have in place to mitigate them.
UOB partnership and industry recognition
I was one of many who helped set up our partnership with the University of Bristol which has been running for about a year and a half now. It’s very unique in that it’s a collaborative partnership; allowing the team to work on innovative research projects while giving us a great source of new talent. We've got people based within an actual University of Bristol office, and, because we teach there as well, we get to give back to the students as well as giving them a route into industry. We’re there to fill that middle ground and help people transition from academia into the industry.
If someone was thinking of applying for a role at LV= GI, I’d say definitely do it. The difference between LV= GI and other organisations is that here, how you do something is as important as what you do. So it's the longer term strategic importance of working in the right way, rather than just getting something done. It’s about believing in the values and using those values to make the right decision.
Pardeep, Head of Data Science at LV= GI