Inaugural address: Ting Li

On Wednesday, the 20th of June 2018, Ting Li, Endowed Professor of Digital Business at Rotterdam School of Management, delivered her inaugural address entitled 'Digital Traces: Personalisation and Privacy'. She argues that businesses often find themselves walking a thin line between delivering personalised services to consumers and being intrusive, which increases consumers’ privacy concerns.

On 18 and 19 June, two days preceding her inaugural address, Prof. Li co-chaired the Statistical Challenges in E-Commerce Research (SCECR). This leading academic conference on big data attracted top scholars throughout the world in the areas of information systems, quantitative marketing, economics, statistics, machine learning, and computer science.
On 20 June, 2018, the day of Prof. Li’s inaugural address, RSM hosted the first Digital Economy Summit. The Summit brought together industry professionals and renowned international academics for a full day of presentations, panels, and discussions. It featured a number of speakers covering topics on digital strategy, business analytics, artificial intelligence, digital experimentation and privacy by industry executives and world-class academic researchers.

About the Inaugural Address

Our daily use of the web, social media, smart phones, and sensor technologies is creating a digital trail of data from which one can formulate a trace of our movements, interactions, and even emotions in both offline and online environments. Such large-scale and fine-grained digital traces of individual behavior can be highly informative in examining not only what people say and what people do, but also what they are planning to do through their own behavior or the behavior of the people who they interact with. The insights gained from such digitized behavioral traces can facilitate business transformations in various domains, such as operations, marketing, finance, healthcare, and urban transportation.
Businesses increasingly tap into this rich information to uncover the preferences that influence an individual’s real-time decision making and provide personalized interactions. However, businesses often find themselves walking a thin line between delivering personalized services to consumers and being intrusive, which increases consumers’ privacy concerns. In this talk, I will first explain how we could improve our behavioral insights from exploring digital traces, using offline trajectories and online social interactions. I will then emphasize the increasingly important and intertwined topics: personalization and privacy, which I will illustrate using my own research. I will further discuss personalization-privacy-paradox related challenges to customer behavior, business strategy, public policy, system design, and society at large.

About Ting Li

Ting Li is the Endowed Professor of Digital Business and the Academic Director of the MSc in Business Information Management at Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), Erasmus University. She is the founding member of the Erasmus Centre for Data Science and Business Analytics. Ting's research interest focuses on the understanding of the strategic use of information and its economic impacts on consumer behavior and firm strategy. Her work has been published in top scientific journals and recognized with best paper awards. Her interdisciplinary research has been sponsored by multiple grants from the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO) and multinational companies. She teaches in various bachelor, master, (E)MBA and executive education programs. Prior to joining academia, Ting worked for General Electric and IBM. She obtained her Ph.D. in Management Science at Erasmus University and her MSc in Computational Science at the University of Amsterdam. In 2017, she was named by Poets & Quants as one of the Top 40 Professors Under 40 Worldwide.

Photos: Chris Gorzeman / Capital Images