We talk about looking at the data and thinking about it – but do we really do that?

It’s very trendy to talk about Big Data, data-based decision making, data governance and data-based government. We read about it, talk about it, tell others they should do it – but are we really spending the time and effort to do it – or to do it well? To begin with, after looking at the data deeply, what hypothesis or explanation have we developed from it? Did we set up an environment to test our theory – to see if it was causation instead of a simple correlation? What behavior has really changed as a result of our data-focus? What actions have we taken based on our discovery in the huge quagmire of facts we have combed through? Have we trained anyone differently as a consequence of what was revealed? In some ways it was simpler when there were fewer numbers – decisions were often based on gut-feelings and instincts. Now that we have the data, and lots of it, are we still making decisions the old-fashioned way? Or are we truly making decisions, especially the difficult ones, based on data?

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