Eyes on Innovation
A novel method for turning data into decisions.
You’re surrounded with data. Right? It’s everywhere. It’s all anyone talks about. What’s all of that information doing for you, really? You’re not a data scientist or a developer with data mining skills. You’re running your business as best you can.
“If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine?”
Here is a simple recipe that redefines your relationship with the data in your business, so it can work for you, not the other way around.
In all of my recipes, I find a way to visualize the problem, it’s parts, and let that guide me towards the desired outcome. Eyes on Innovation does that - there are five steps and they’re easy to remember because they all start with I.
InputsHow are you collecting information?
InformationMuch of the data may be hard to make sense of.
InsightsMaking sense of it all and finding the deeper meaning of the information.
IdeasThe information stimulates you to think of infinite possibilities.
InitiativesNow it all comes together.
Case Study:The National Science Teachers Association
The NSTA was a client of introNetworks, serving a population of thousands of teachers in the United States. Our network connected the teachers based on their particular professional areas of interest, what they were able to share with other teachers, and where they needed help. After ninety days I met with them to go over the data we’d collected.
We looked at the word clouds, charts and graphs and I asked them, “What’s popping off the screen and nearly impossible to ignore?” This was a bit of a trick question. The largest word displayed in the area where the teachers needed help was, Grant Writing. This came as new input to the management team. What did this have to do with science or teaching? Turns out, using the Insight step, we figured out teachers had been getting their budgets slashed and were having to find novel ways to fund classroom purchases. One of those was writing grants. This is not something taught in college, at least not for science teachers. They needed help.
Continuing to look at the information, we learned there was a percentage of teachers who said they had a skill in grant writing and were willing to share it with others. I asked the team, “What could we do, now that we know we have a need and a source of information for the teachers?” In hindsight, this seems obvious, at the time, less so. Looking at data from the point of view of how you could use it to better serve your audience was a new concept.
At this point, the team asked to stop the meeting while they went and got people from Marketing, the Product team, the Event Planners and the Development group. What followed was an idea session that led to a new set of initiatives including Panels, Classes, White Papers, Workshops for the annual event.
This experience was the first time I’d been able to put all the pieces of this recipe together myself. I discovered it’s not enough to have the data, you need to uncover insight, generate ideas and finally, do something - take the action to generate new products, services and goodwill for your audiences.
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