#DigitalTradies: Meet Dorotea Baljević - Fashion Icon, Ethical Technology Leader and Future Astronaut
18 August 2021
Welcome to the fourth episode of #DigitalTradies!
Earlier today, we spoke with Dorotea Baljević - Head of Data Science Practice at Lendlease Digital.
Tell us about yourself
I actually didn’t start as a Data Scientist. I started as a Network Engineer, so I was in data centres all the time – mostly with ‘digital’ rather than actual people. Fast forward today, I lead the Data Science Practice for Podium. I enjoy solving problems with evidence-based solutions – but not just for the sake of doing so. Hence why there’s a big focus in my role about the responsible use of data. So, I love my tech, but I also love doing it for the right reasons, for the environment and for the people.
Was being a Data Scientist a career path you knew you would always follow?
I knew it was always going to be science and tech. My dream job was actually to be an astronaut and to go into space. So maybe there’s an opportunity for Lendlease to construct something on the moon or Mars. Here’s to hoping!
What are you currently working on?
My team are working on quite a few experiments and products, but the key focus is Podium Property Insights. So, making sure that we’ve got the right energy, sustainability, operational excellence and customer experience. And that it’s empowering our Asset Managers and Investment Managers etc. to make the right decisions.
Being an Ethical Technology Leader, you are clearly very passionate about the responsible use of data. How have you managed to use data with a purpose within Podium Property Insights?
An interesting one that we’ve looked in to is understanding occupancy in buildings. Most people will say we need sensors and need them absolutely everywhere, but you can also get proxies for that – potentially in elevators, people checking-in to buildings, people coming through the front doors. Would that give you enough information? Because at the end of the day, what you’re trying to do is not understand exactly how many people are there, but what is the energy consumption that you need to manage for? And so, the conversations then changes to wanting to know the behaviours of people moving in and out of the building, rather than the specific number of people. This understanding then helps us find the right solution.
What inspires you to log in every day?
There’s two parts. It’s the Lendlease ethos. Lendlease is one of the rare companies that already had the concept of the triple bottom line before it became a fad or concept. In 1973 the founder, Dick Dusseldorp, said “Companies must start justifying their worth to society, with greater emphasis placed on environmental and social impact rather than straight economics.”
The second is the people. We have such fantastic, curious and creative people that come from all walks of life. Our team weren’t all Data Scientists and Data Analysts straight out of university. We have people that completed degrees in journalism, architecture and fine arts before making the transition to data – and that’s great because it means when you come and try to solve a problem, it comes from different lenses.
What are your words of wisdom for aspiring Digital Tradies?
Come with curiosity! We are creating technology for a human sake – for actual problems. For example, in the UK we have people focused on how we can make sure our places don’t have loneliness. We’re working on big social concepts that have true implications and impact for the future. There’s always something to learn not only about digital and data, but also from the social and sustainability point of view.
Finally, what is your spirit animal?
I had to ask a few people (so I did my own data-based journey) and it landed on lioness. The lioness provides stability. They look in to and build for the future. They also have a sense of calmness in comparison to say, the lion. And also, it’s the courage and making sure to take care of people.