Without data to back up ideas or solutions to both simple and complex problems, hunches and instincts don’t hold much value—nor will they get you very far.
When addressing a business challenge, I ask my team, “What’s the goal and the preferred outcome?” This encourages them to create a hypothesis, build something, test it, collect insights from what went right and what didn’t, and to learn from it and try again. With this framework in mind, we work together to cultivate a culture around making data-based decisions.
Visualizing the data is also incredibly useful in understanding and seeing why making data-driven decisions is important.
For any function of the business, my team and I have worked collaboratively to create dashboards to track the different status’ of each area of the company. For example, in sales, our dashboard from our CRM tracks our pipeline and reflects the likelihood of which opportunities will convert into business. We can see how clients react and how we can use what happened in the past to forecast future opportunities to create better hypotheses with more insights. We may have gut instincts on what targets to go after, but this information will really drive our decisions on which leads are the best to pursue.
We use this approach with our clients as well.
It’s neat because sometimes we realize that the data collected takes us in a completely different direction than what our hypothesis predicted, but still fulfills the end goal.
One particular client we worked with a few years back wanted to build a mobile wallet as part of an initiative to drive innovation around mobile. At that time, touchless mobile payments were still in the early stages of customer adoption—there weren’t a lot of NFC-enabled smartphones and very few retailers had NFC-enabled terminals. Instead, we turned to research. We found that users wanted to decrease the weight of their wallets that were filled with loyalty cards and receipts, so we refocused the project on digital expense management to go after a more refined need our client wasn’t originally aware of.
A more known example is YouTube.
On Valentine’s Day back in 2005, YouTube was originally created as a dating site. But when users weren’t using it for that purpose but rather to upload any video, the founders decided to go along with the unexpected user behaviour. By analyzing the research on their users, they pivoted the direction of the company and now, YouTube’s grown to become a worldwide organization worth billions of dollars.
This data-driven mindset has been influential in how we at Aequilibrium work together as a team and how we work with our clients to nurture a data-driven culture.
Data shows us patterns and tells us a story, but the ending is what we write. Data alone isn’t the decision—it’s up to us as a team to make the best business decision based on what we find and what our intention is.
Next week the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade will be hosting the Facing Technology Disruption: Will Your Organization Survive or Thrive? event. The panel speakers (Jeff Booth, CEO of BuildDirect, Sue Paish, CEO of LifeLabs, and Nadia Dobrianskaia, Computer Scientist at Simba Technologies) will be discussing the innovative approaches and disruptive technologies their teams are using to build great companies. I’m excited to hear what they have to share and, if you’re attending, I’d love to meet up and hear your thoughts on what your organizations do to thrive and create winning businesses!