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Data-driven with the human measure: data-informed

Organisations that make decisions based on data perform significantly better than organisations that still rely on gut feeling. Data-driven organisations can respond faster and better to changes in the market and are better able to continuously optimise their way of working.

Making decisions based on data is a good idea, but excluding the 'human measure' is dangerous. The most successful organisations therefore make both data-driven and data-informed decisions.

Data makes your information and processes better.

In both the lifecycle of information and the lifecycle of processes, the analysis, evaluation, and optimisation based on data play a major role. Fortunately, more and more organisations and professionals are realising the importance of listening and collecting data.

Data tells you what works and what doesn't work. That can be your strategy, or a product or service, a process, a digital platform, or anything else.

A study by Bain & Company shows that data-driven organisations:

  • Have twice the chances of being among the top performing organisations in their sector .

  • Have three times the chance of executing decisions as intended.

  • Have five times the chance of making decisions faster.

Data doesn't stand alone

But this doesn't mean that we should only make decisions based on data alone ('data-driven'). Other things also play a role in making good decisions, such as past experiences, intuition, judgment, and qualitative input.

Decisions based on a combination of these elements with the data are called 'data-informed' or data-informed.


A little gut feeling is not wrong

Data-informed decisions are based on both qualitative and quantitative insights, observations, and 'gut feelings'. The data alone tell an important part of the story, but not the whole story. Sometimes good decisions are made that seem to go against the data. This can only be done with the necessary expertise and experience.

Venn Diagram Data Informed vs Data driven

Learn from practice and find balance

In the CMS Wire article Is Your Company Data-driven or Data-informed, Kirsty Sharman illustrates the importance of data-informed decisions with examples of Nokia, Segway, and Hotjar. The common thread in these stories is that data doesn't say everything and that the 'art' is in making decisions based on the available data.

Kirsty gives some more tips for finding the balance between data-driven and data-informed decisions. I would definitely take her tips and ideas to heart.


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