The importance of data and knowing what to do with it

We’ve read a lot about the importance of technology, artificial intelligence, big data, and automation in business and government. We are allowed to assume that evidence-based decision making is the standard for Australian organizations.

Well, I have good news and bad news for you.

Let’s start with the bad news. As a demographic consultant, I come across an organization that still relies solely on intuition in decision making.

Of course, instinct and bold gambling are key elements of a successful business, but even the most instinct-driven mavericks need to add data to their decision-making diet to achieve lasting success. there is. If owners focus more on their data, the closure of many small businesses can be avoided.

The same applies to government. Policy needs to rely on more than the intuition and ideology of a few people.

Well, good news. Things are changing.

Everyone who speaks in meetings, consulting, or even social media knows how important data is to their business. Most companies collect a fair amount of data, but in the end you’ll be surprised to see how underutilized that data is.

New rules, fresh response

Today, I would like to introduce a case study that effectively combines data, intuition, and democratic processes.
More than anything, Victorian Local Government Act 2020.. This 390-page document forced all Victorian municipalities to create the Vision 2040 document.

So far, it’s been very boring. Municipalities have long had some kind of document stating that: People are important to us. Build more playgrounds. There is a nice cafe. We are the perfect place to do business.

The difference this time is that Congress had to adopt a community engagement policy when creating the 2040 Vision. In the process, it was necessary to use the practice of careful involvement.

The goal is to bring residents closer to the work of the local government. This is more than a token gesture of interviewing a few people and ignoring all comments.

In fact, this means that a group of about 40 residents, who are very similar to the population of the area, will be invited to participate in the creation of the vision document. Such groups represent the community far more than elected officials.

This group is mentored by an outside facilitator for weeks or months through a prudent approach aimed at delivering meaningful, informed outcomes. Part of this process invites ecologists, ecologists, educators, demographers (that’s why I’m familiar with this process), and other experts to explain the outlook for the next 20 years. That is.

Representatives are provided with a large amount of data from various disciplines here. However, while they are not left behind in an inconsistent pile of data, experts and facilitators run joint workshops to educate representatives.

As a demographer, in these sessions I will see what aging means for the community, how we can tackle the homeless, how home prices will develop, and how the community will improve social cohesion. We are enthusiastic about what we can do to do this.

Real discussion, real people

These are not chats at the ivory towers of academia, but actual discussions with locals who are actively working to make the town a better place. I worked with highly skilled facilitators in these sessions to encourage people to critically test, weigh, and work on numerous perspectives, inputs, and evidence.

At the end of the process, the representative will put together a Vision 2040 document aimed at addressing issues that are relevant to the entire community. The final decision on which topics will ultimately be included in the document is a beautiful combination of gut and data.

But why bother to make all this effort to write a great Vision 2040 work and let the little local politician completely ignore it?

Well, there is a twist: at the beginning of the process, the council promises representatives to carry out their proposals. This process actually creates the policy. This is a data-driven policy co-created by a representative group of residents.

How about following the example of the Victorian Local Government Act of 2020? Anyone can use the basic principle of adding data-driven insights to personal and professional decision making.

On a personal level, I used to The Importance of Understanding Risk Data When deciding whether to get vaccinated. Our gut sensations can be brilliantly wrong. All of us can easily be fooled into fear that even a casual look at the data will be wiped out.

Of course, everyone knows that it’s not difficult to lie with data. We need to critically examine the data we encounter and our own emotions.

Demographer Simon Kustenmacher is a co-founder of the demographic group. His columns, media commentary and speeches focus on current trends in socio-demographic trends and their impact on Australia.Follow Simon twitter Also LinkedIn For daily data insights.

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