EngageJax is really an opportunity for you to learn what those changes are and how they come about, engage with who is working to make those changes, and most importantly, how you can act to make an even greater impact.
We share posts on a variety of topics, including leadership development, community vision, and opportunities to engage in the community. You’ll also get in-depth, fact-based views of important Jacksonville issues, overviews of JCCI programs, projects, and events, and details about what we’re reading and why. We'll also have an opportunity to ask some of our friends six questions - and share their answers.
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Some time back, I read an interesting piece titled Seven Steps to Creating a Data Driven Decision Making Culture. One critical feature in JCCI’s Model for Community Change is the thoughtful use of data in making good community decisions. While the article is narrowly focused on using web tools to improve the bottom line, the lessons about how to use information to make decisions are much broader.
Step number seven (he takes them in reverse order) is Go for the Bottom Line (Outcomes). Too often, we’re tempted to think about using information only to measure inputs – how much we are spending on a particular issue, for example, or number of police officers on the street – which are easier numbers to change but may not result in the outcomes we're looking for.
Number six is my favorite -- Reporting is not Analysis. I like the breakout on how data funnels down:
› Data : petabytes› Reports : terabytes› Excel : gigabytes› PowerPoint : megabytes› Insights : bytes› One business decision based on actual data: Priceless
I also like this point:
‡ Reporting = the art of finding 3 errors in a thousand rows
‡ Analysis = the art of knowing 3 errors in a thousand are irrelevant
The article continues: Analysis in our world is hard to do, data data every where and nary an insight anywhere. Reporting is going into your favorite tool and creating a bazillion reports in the hope that a report in there … will spark action. That is rarely the case.
An additional challenge is that [because] both reporting and analysis can take over your lives, you will have to make a explicit choice as to what you want to spend time on. Remember that if at the end of x hours of work if your table / graph / report is not screaming out the action you need to take then you are doing reporting and not analysis.
Too often we are asked for data to satisfy curiosity, rather than inform a decision. If we think about why we need information and how we are going to use it to decide before we begin looking for data, we are much more likely to focus in on what is important.
Number five is Depersonalize Decision Making. The stand-out comment to me was "HiPPO's rule the world" – Highest Paid Person's Opinion. When we deal with community change, you often find yourself with a BFD – Biggest Funder Decides. You can't have both a personality-led and data-driven decision making process – which way do you want your decisions to be made?
Number four is Proactive Insights rather than Reactive. I know this is obvious, and I'm sure you probably feel like I do-- that the next person who says "we want to be proactive rather than reactive" needs to be shoved in the same box with the "let's try out-of-the-box thinking on this one" person. So I'm skipping past it.
Number three is Empower Your Analysts. In community change, we need to reward those who do analysis more than reporting. Listen when people connect the dots, and pay attention to what that might mean. I’ve seen large organizations fill out report after report without giving someone enough power to use the data in creative ways to find answers to productivity problems.
Number two is Solve for the Trinity. No, we're not getting all Dan Brown here. This is a model of problem-solving that looks incredibly useful. Data is only the What. Research adds the Why. Outcomes are the How Much. Here's the tip: Start with the How Much, evolve to the What Is then strive for the Why (or why not if that is where you find yourself.)
Number one is Got Process? Data-driven decision making demands paying attention to process. Here's how the article puts is:
This is perhaps the single biggest differences between cultures that achieve the mythical status of being data driven and those who languish. Process helps create frameworks that people can understand, follow and, most importantly, repeat. Process Excellence (six sigma) can also help guide you and ensure that you are actually focusing on the Critical Few metrics and help establish goals and control limits for your metrics so that it becomes that much easier to stay focused and execute successfully.
Processes don’t have to be complex scary things. The picture shared was that of a simple powerpoint slide that using a very visual flow illustrated exactly what the process for executing a a/b or multivariate test was, end to end. It showed who is responsible for each step and what deliverables are expected. Very easy to do. But now not just you but everyone knows what to do. At the end of the day it is process that creates culture - do you have structured processes in your company?
And that's why Process is such an important concept here at JCCI – it’s not just about getting the right answers, it’s about getting the answers right, using the right process.
Below is the article for you to read for yourself. I may have stretched the author’s intent (more than a little bit), but I thought the points he made were incredibly relevant to the upcoming decisions we’ll need to make in Jacksonville over the next few years.