The Six Things You Need to Get Game-Changing Data Results.
According to the buzzwords, data appears to be the hot new thing. It isn’t. 2,500 years ago, Socrates argued for the use of obtaining evidence and verifying assumptions, laying the groundwork for the scientific method. Francis Bacon argued in the 16th century for the importance of empirically studying the world. Over 200 years ago, the first clinical trial (testing techniques to prevent scurvy) was undertaken. Data is not new; it has long been transforming the world.
Consider Galileo. He began to unravel the mysteries of the universe using only a telescope, a feather, and a pen. Long before spreadsheets were invented, Florence Nightingale used medical statistics and cutting-edge data visualisation techniques to demonstrate the need for reform in military hospital hygiene. These people are frequently absent from our data-related discussions, but failing to tell their stories is a mistake.
Marie Curie, Isaac Newton, and Alan Turing all knew something about data that we still use today. They understood that statistics alone would not transform the world. When innovative, interested people know how to use data, it can produce world-changing results. We have more data, computer power, and analytical tools than these data heroes of the past could have imagined, but we still confront some of the same issues. Here’s what you ought to know if you want to be among “those who achieve world-changing results with data.”
Data can help you locate the answer, but you must ask intriguing questions.
Picasso famously stated about computers, “They are, however, ineffective.” They can only provide you with answers. The same may be true for information. Data can provide answers, but you must still ask excellent questions. Consider the case of George Washington Carver. Agriculture had already been practised for 10,000 years, but Carver considered it as something to be improved upon rather than accepted. Carver wished to restore the health and livelihoods of farmers whose soil had been depleted of nutrients.
Before he found the wonders of the peanut, he had to conduct experimental studies on a variety of other crops.
To use a less nerdy metaphor, the answer to life, the world, and everything may be 42-but what’s the question?
You’ll still make mistakes with or without data. That’s OK.
Using data does not guarantee that you will always be correct. You’ll very certainly end up proving yourself wrong time and time again. That’s OK. If you want to create world-changing results using data, you don’t need to know the solution right away; you just need to know how to keep experimenting and investigating until you find it.
You can only analyse the data that is available to you. Make a plan for what to collect and how to store it.
People have a propensity to believe that they require immaculate data that covers every attribute from every part of the firm. This can result in many headaches and little activity. Focus, not perfection, drives success. Begin with the end goal in mind and concentrate on gathering and analysing the evidence that will drive action.
There is a method that leads to the correct answer: It’s known as the scientific method.
Scurvy was a big topic in the mid-18th century when colonial countries’ navies were travelling around the world. Sailors couldn’t conquer the oceans while immobile, and their teeth were falling out-someone had to fix the situation. James Lind was the first to use a scientific approach to solve the problem. His crude A/B test wasn’t flawless, but it represented a significant advancement in human understanding of how to use data to discover the best response (Vitamin C in citrus). There is a method to the madness of data, and it is worthwhile to learn how to use it.
Data can be utilised to either lead or mislead. The distinction is made via the thorough application of statistics.
Throughout history, science and mysticism have had an odd relationship. Alchemy, chronology, and numerology hide behind scientific jargon, and it is easy to become perplexed. Even Isaac Newton became disoriented, squandering years of his life studying alchemy.
The application of statistics to data allows you to distinguish between science and pseudoscience. It’s the difference between making well-informed judgments that produce outcomes and being misled by a misunderstanding of how data works.
All the computing power in the world is meaningless if you don’t know how to use it.
Our ability to store and process data is immense and growing rapidly, but having this raw power and efficiently utilising it are two very different things. People who have used statistics to alter the world have a thorough understanding of their instruments.
Here’s the rub. It is difficult to use data. It takes more time, more talent, and a new mindset. It also needs guts. You must ask fresh questions, refuse to accept the status quo, and pursue the truth wherever it may lead.
It is also worthwhile. People achieve better results when they think critically and test their assumptions. So, while data isn’t the latest and greatest thing, it is a timeless classic that only gets better with age.