Over time, industries go through evolutions from secrecy to sharing.
I spent many years in Basel, Switzerland working for Novartis in the pharmaceutical industry. Back then, it was unthinkable to share any data with anybody. But due to regulatory pressure, volatility, and competitive pressures the life sciences industry went from being very secretive to being open to sharing.
Today, people in the life sciencesdon’t just talk about their efficacies, but also about their paid epidemiological results. They even share access to clinical data and clinical research.I saw this transition from complete secrecy -- you’d lock your lab twice – to thinking about the greater good and the law of utilitarianism. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and it’s made the industry so much better.
And thenwhen I moved to New York City, I saw a similar transition in financial services in response to the passage of Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Actin July 2010. Suddenly, everyone was confronted with the need togenerate accurate and timely reports, whichforced the industry to open up and share data with the regulators.
Some firms addressed the reporting challenge by hiring more employees. They increased their overhead and ended up with lots of people in their basements hunched over spreadsheets. Other firms, in contract, immediately thought about how to use digital transformation to cope with this new pressure. The latter ended up on the right side of this shift.
Oddly enough, maritime has been both collaborativeand secrecy-driven. Think about it: Pool operators manage vessels on behalf of other firms all the time and there are all sorts of relationships happening, among buyers and sellers of cargo, brokers and bunker suppliers, for instance. That’s collaborative.
But those collaborations happen very much on the level of personal relationships. Trust exists, but it exist between people, not between companies. Like most of us we like to keep our personal relationships—well--personal. That’s secrecy.
Now, the maritime industry is on the cusp of its own digital transformation. Like life sciences and financial services before it, the industry is being shaken by volatility and regulatory pressures from IMO 2020, 2025, etc. which will require evolution from secrecy to sharing. Furthermore, with the whole globe entering a stage of less travel and less human to human interaction, we will rely more than ever on data, facts, and the single version of truth.
Our report The Impact of Sharing in Shippingwas intended to bring this knowledge to light and make it contextual for the maritime industry, so we can start reducing the fear around sharing and nudge ourselves in the direction of innovation. Because fear doesn't help us be creative -- it paralyzes us. When people truly understand something, their fear subsides,and their creativity increases.
The maritime industry can benefit from the prior experiences of life sciencesand financial services and realize the benefits of sharing, faster.