An organization can't simply give people slick-looking dashboards and expect insights to magically flow. There has to be at least a basic level of data literacy. That starts with old-fashioned training. There may be some resistance to this. Some members of your workforce may not have had any kind of numbers training since college. When is the last time your average marketing or HR person had to do statistical analysis? But we find that enthusiasm grows as people see how far even a basic understanding of data goes toward generating and sharing insights.
There are a lot of ways to design a training program, but at Slalom we've found it's good to start with basic statistical concepts such as mean vs. median, R-squared, standard deviation, and what commonly tossed around terms like “statistically significant” actually mean. People don’t have to be statisticians, but should know enough to ask questions and understand the response from a statistician or data scientist.
Another important thing your organization can do: hold leaders to accountable for how they make their decisions. Are they still relying on their gut, or are they making choices that can be justified by numbers? This may be uncomfortable for some leaders because it means some decentralization of authority: As more people have more data, that they should have a corresponding power to make decisions. But the rewards for embracing this data-driven decentralization can be tremendous.
When everyone has access to data, everyone can drive innovation. For an organization to benefit from data, it must be prepared to be guided by its insights, no matter where they lead. That means having the confidence to question the way things have always been done, and, above all, a willingness to try new things. Just like a good chef.
Learn more about how Slalom's approach to powering organizations with data: