Data-driven decision making, as the name implies, is where the data drives what you do. Your brain essentially takes a back seat while you blindly follow what the data tells you, even when it goes against your better judgement. We've heard stories of people following their GPS devices and driving into a body of water or some other hazard. People stop thinking for themselves and defer entirely to machines to think for them. No data set is perfect and while the abilities of computers are constantly improving (such as in driverless car safety using data to make decisions ultimately requires a data-literate person to properly interpret the information.
What To Do?
Data-Informed Decision Making
The best way to make decisions is in Data-Informed Decision Making. Data-Informed Decision Making is a blend of experience and data; you are using data to inform your decision making process but not to let it blindly drive you. Ultimately you make the call. It is this blend of human experience and data that has the best chance of success.
For example, contrary to popular belief, the autopilot feature on airplanes (more accurately known as the automatic flight control system) doesn't actually fly the plane. Most pilots would tell you that flying a plane is a combination of autopilot (a sophisticated data driven series of controls) and human activity based on experience & training.
When the New England Patriots intercepted the goal-line pass by the Seattle Seahawks in the 2014 Super Bowl it was because they knew it was coming. It was a combination of game stats and coaching experience that led the Patriots to prepare a defense for that exact play which helped them to win the game.
Data-informed decision making is also good for business. The MIT Center for Digital Business recently ran a study and found that companies taking a data-informed approach to decision making had 4% higher productivity rates as well as 6% higher profits.
No person or data set is perfect, but the two combined help overcome the shortcomings of either. Between the internet of things and corporate big data, our personal and professional lives have more data available to us than ever before. Take advantage of this burgeoning opportunity and make the smartest data-informed decisions possible by blending experience with data.
Learn more about Data-Informed Decision Making in our live Fika event on Wednesday, June 3rd. Click here to register now!