Too important to leave to the data scientists

At a glance:

Data is good, data skills are better and a data skills plan is best.

28 Jun 2019

I usually write blog posts that include big chunks of R code and deal with analysis of specific datasets that I hope are of interest to people with specialist statistical and data science skills (or hoping to develop those skills). But I happen to think that broader data literacy is even more important than my hobby. This week I released an article on data capability on the website of Nous Group, my employer.

“…just like war and generals, data is too important to leave to the data scientists.”

My main points include:

  • As is well known, making most of data is a core challenge for organisations; and their ability to deal with the challenge and opportunities will depend on the skill of their staff. Simply put, data capability is a big issue for organisations to deal with if they want to thrive.
  • Data capability issues go far beyond the skills of specialists (which are important, just not the whole story). Data literacy across many roles in the enterprise is critical, including roles that don’t see themselves as data-related and might even be skeptical or scared of data. This includes the likes of staff on the front line (whatever that means in any particular organisation), human resources, corporate planners, policy officers - and, critically, managers and senior managers.
  • There are some known steps and principles that can build the capability in an organisation.

Essentially, data literacy is the ability to contextualise, critically appraise and communicate insights from data and information to support an organisation to achieve its purpose.

Read the article in full on the Nous website.

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