Thanks to COVID-19 everyone is a data interpreter

Thanks to COVID-19 everyone is a data interpreter

One of the most interesting developments coming out of the current COVID-19 crisis is that people are looking at and interpreting data like never before.

People that have never expressed an interest in data are now thinking about data and trying to understand what it means for them. There is a lot that businesses can learn from this.


With COVID-19, people are taking the time to look at highly complex data, distill it, and assess what it means for their own behavior and lives. They want to debate the data and take action based on it.

This tells us that most people are data literate at some level. They have an interest in data and they want to talk about its veracity and understand what it means to them. Even though it’s out of self-interest, people have learned a new competency which is analyzing and understanding data.

If everyone did the same thing in a business environment, data would become a far more crucial component of everyone's daily working life than it is today. This tells us that organizations can encourage more debate and use data to drive the best actions by giving their people access to data.

Currently within organizations, data analysis isn’t the real challenge as there's always someone who can slice and dice data. But when a data analyst analyzes data, it's very rare for them to provide a full interpretation of the actions that should occur as a result.

There's often not a very robust debate about the meaning of numbers. By giving people access to data, organizations can improve their ability to ask big questions around the data. What do these numbers mean for us? What do we learn from these numbers? That's the next frontier for data.

For organizations that hold their data and don’t share it, you're actually putting roadblocks in the way of people who want to behave in a way that is natural to them. By giving your people access to data you can get the most benefit out of it by allowing them to debate and action it.

As a data person, I see that as one of the big silver linings to come out of this situation and potentially a long-lasting effect of COVID-19.

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