Question: How can we create a BIG TENT to increase visibility and IMPACT of our profession?
There are two possibilities (applied inter-disciplinary and core research), and both efforts are important (and should be balanced):
BIG data brings enormous interdisciplinary opportunities for statisticians. This helps to create a living for statisticians by applying (traditional) statistical tools + problem specific bells and whistles.
(b) Developing wholesale algorithms that can be translated into curriculum.
Along with Retail domain-specific problem solving (and retail paper publications), the academic statisticians need to develop wholesale algorithms (multidisciplinary utility: like AIC, Bootstrap, Knn, RKHS, SVM, Spline, RF, Lasso etc.) that other disciplines can routinely use for their data-driven (exploratory not confirmatory) research. I fear we might lose our unique identity (and spirit of our discipline—the science of learning from data) if we focus too much on solving `isolated’ problems (while busy making a living for ourselves using traditional tools + some twists and turns); otherwise, we will produce skilled biologists or engineers, not statisticians. We need to find a balance between these two broad approaches, which have the same goal- –to advance the frontiers of statistics.