What does it mean to be data-driven?

The term “data-driven decision making” has become an overused phrase in business and education. What does it really mean? Does data “drive” decisions? One of the fallacies of being “data-driven” is the assumption that it provides the answers or solutions to our problems.

Data guarantees only one thing – questions.

Asking questions and pushing to uncover the root cause underlying the results requires moving beyond collection and “reading” the data. The power in the data we collect lies in how we transform it into information. Our information should paint the picture of what otherwise might remain hidden.  Somewhat like those drawings that contain three-dimensional pictures hidden until we stare long enough to bring it into focus.

We might think of data as that drawing and our analysis as the ability to examine and critically approach the findings. Only when we look, and look again through multiple lenses will the picture materializes. Then we wonder why we hadn’t seen it before. Data replaces hunches and hypotheses with facts concerning what changes are needed.

The data doesn’t drive us; we are the drivers watching the road ahead, predicting the next turn, redirecting our course after a wrong turn, and looking for signs that will lead us to the place at which we hope to arrive.

Stephen Few’s Show Me the Numbers provides a no-nonsense guide for displaying numbers with simplicity and integrity.

But, if you want to begin to understand how data can support your journey to excellence, contact me.

Let’s talk about the numbers!

Contact Kathryn

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

Photo: © Kathryn LeRoy