Guest post by Sally Swift and Tracy Brower, Steelcase

Our work has become increasingly complex and big data was supposed to help make work easier. Unfortunately, we’re still looking for the needle in the haystack, and the haystack has just gotten bigger.

Work has shifted from hierarchical to networked, from rote to more creative, and from rule-based to empowering. With all these changes, we can leverage data in order to create the best workplaces – but this is no small opportunity.

So how do we use data in the smartest, most efficient ways and how do we leverage it to hold place accountable to people?

It’s about focusing on not just the ‘what’ of data, but also about the ‘why’ and the ‘so what’. Combining quantitative data (the what) and also qualitative data (the why) can be best leveraged for the ‘so what’ – that is, the decisions that we will drive the results we’re seeking.

Organizations can fall into the trap of HPPO decision making (decisions made based on the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) rather than evidence-based decision making. Starting with business drivers and telling sticky stories based on data can help to foster a culture in which data is interpreted within context.

Data allows new opportunities for experimentation. Trying a new workplace solution and studying it with quantitative and qualitative data helps prove a model or informs how it might be adjusted. Experimentation, exploration, and effective use of data is a journey, but there are multiple paths to success. Getting started is the key!

Learn more about how to leverage data for the greatest impact in ‘Big Data, Thick Data, and Everything in Between’, a CoreNet Global podcast with Sally Swift and Tracy Brower of Steelcase.

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