“Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion.”
I saw this quote from the data scientist W.Edwards Deming in a LinkedIn post recently,
This quote really got me thinking about the whole topic of research and the ability to find a project’s key insights. At the core of every research project is the need to find the story – a key insight which is otherwise undiscovered or, as Deming suggests, an opinion which hasn’t yet been proven.
There are numerous different processes a researcher undertakes to discover that key insight, and despite that considerable effort, it may be completely wasted. From my own experience, I recall talking to one client whose boss was insistent that despite a wealth of data to look at, they wanted a single number to represent everything. All he was interested in was whether that number went up or down each month. This could clearly be seen as an imbalance of effort on the part of the researcher – which could be quite demoralizing, spending hours (if not days!) a week creating and updating PowerPoint presentations, for which their stakeholders may not take any interest in!
There clearly is a need to re-balance this effort, researchers need to spend more time honing that key story and, unfortunately, more time is somewhat of a luxury. With research teams having to juggle with ever increasing amounts of research data as well as demands for quicker delivery of that research, the last thing these teams have is more time to delve deeper into the analysis process – uncover the key insights and tell the story in greater detail. How can they find this time and level out the imbalance of effort?
Finding time efficiencies in the various processes allows researchers’ to ‘create’ more time to concentrate on the essential ‘story telling’ part of the process – so rather than spending more time in total on a project, it would be a reallocation. For example, the reporting process is one area which could be targeted – at E-Tabs we have solutions which streamline the report producing stage. Whether they are on-going tracking studies or one off ad-hoc projects, we can help improve the time spent producing these reports and allow that time to be reallocated to telling more successful stories.
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