Why your company shouldn’t be data-led


With almost 20 years’ experience working in real estate and technology, Jai Ivarsson is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Product and Development. Here he discusses why your organisation should not be led by data.

Data has become a core foundation of business and, in turn, the noise generated by data-related buzzwords has become deafening in recent years.

With many businesses struggling to make sense of data, some organisations that are successfully pulling actionable insights from their data are proudly labelling themselves “data-led” or “data-driven”. However, left unchecked, a reliance on data to drive business decisions can lead your organisation down the wrong path.

One of the key attributes of successful companies is innovation. In data-driven organisations, this simply isn’t possible. How can you think outside the box and decide to try something different if there isn’t any data to lead you there?

Data always comes after an action which, by definition, means if your business is led by data you are being reactionary to everything. You are always on the defensive and never able to lead your market.

At its core, data refers to raw, unprocessed statistics.

“Statistics: the science of producing unreliable facts from reliable figures” - Evan Esar.

Hopefully, we can agree that correlation doesn’t mean causation. If not then I highly recommend you check out this collection of spurious correlations for all manner of ways you should modify your life.

Because numbers can misinform you, I enjoy taking a statistic and seeing how many conflicting conclusions I can jump to.

If statistics can be manipulated to suit any agenda then the facts, or data, providing that statistic are obviously open to interpretation. So, how can you have a data-led organisation?


Hello data-informed

Don’t get me wrong, we use data in everything we do. However, instead of being blindly led by it, we use data to inform our decision-making process. 

Innovation in a data-informed organisation works by allowing you to try new things, test theories, measure results and iterate quickly.  

Sometimes we innovate and discover something great. Other times we prove ourselves wrong and the whole theory turns out to be a flop. But that’s okay – because that’s how innovation really works.

How does your organisation use data? Join the conversation on LinkedIn here.

Jai Ivarsson is realestate.co.nz’s Head of Product and Development. With experience working with successful start ups, Jai specialises in finding pragmatic solutions that allow for fast growth.

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