Mindsets which can destroy the value of data!

Tony Fish @My Digital Footprint

I have been working with several teams on data driven innovations and failing to create the value expected. Listed below are some mindsets which I have come across that appear to create hurdles to the data opportunity. The theme underlying these views, I believe, is the same as the old philosophy argument on behaviour and judgement which is “are you Fact or Opinion biased?” 

Personally I am defiantly and firmly in the “tell me your opinion.” The Internet has allowed the world to find, no matter what the opinion, some data to support it.  As I can/will always find facts to back any story, I want to know what you’re thinking, why you hold that view and what drives you. Why do I think this; because strategy and innovation is a judgement on outcomes and not a science.  I find it interesting that many are trying to prove me right or wrong with their data, rather than accepting that my opinion is mine and it is neither right or wrong but based on the evidence, insight and experience I have to date. I have no issue with U turns. My desire is however that we accept difference, share openly and seek truth. Truth being, in this case, what the facts are and not what you want the facts to be.

Yes this is all based on opinion and not strong factual evidence, I see the irony so come whip me!

Consultancy 101. Tell the client what they have already decided. Senior management appear to want this outcome, therefore we provide it if we believe it or not. I am doing my job I am not here to care or add value.  It is the danger of senior management not accepting that their opinions can be wrong (if and when they share them) or misguided which becomes a culture of re-enforcement (do the same) and not one of seeking “truth.” 

Decisions based on people like me
Three steps: 1.  you believe you have an affinity with a market, 2. you assume everyone is like you and will like what you like, and, 3 you can pursued others that 1 and 2 are true and should ignore any other evidence and therefore fill decisions making forum will others who are like you/ agree with you.

Bias for intuition and ignore the data.  
This is where the individual overwhelmingly trusts in experience over any other pragmatic insight from analysis; holding on to what works rather than what could be.  Having said this I have been shocked that intuition sees patterns that the algorithm could not.  It is about the balance of intuition and fact not the absence of either.

A desire to prove beyond all reasonable doubt
Business decisions, strategy, change and innovation are an art, it is about balancing judgement and some cannot deal with uncertainty, risk or being wrong.  Being right is the most important thing as this is about personal reputation, the delay is  someone else’s problem. Being so close that you cannot see the system

Similar to a desire to prove beyond doubt are data quality sceptics. Two camps. 1. The data is not good enough as the outcome is not what I want  2. The data, even though there is only one bit of data (and it is mine,) is of such high quality you should ignore everything else.  

Knowledge is power and power is mine.
Holding back data, information or insight and then using this to prove your intuition was right.  Politics and politicians – statistics and lies.  Statistics are no substitute for judgement. Remove these people before they destroy you.