These are all questions that almost never get asked when analytical work is carried out. We tend to give an answer to the question asked and move on to the next thing. We are all busy doing our day to day jobs, but what if we paused and thought about why am I being asked this question.
Analysts have always been on the frontline, responsible for producing any and all statistics that are used within their organisations. The knowledge of data and what it means is embedded in these teams, if only we stopped and thought about what the data is meant to convey.
In a commercial environment – a salesman will tell you three things about their product:
- Features – This is what it is
- Benefits – This is what it means
- Advantage – This is why you should buy it
This analogy is almost identical to how we should be innovating our analytical thoughts.
- Features –Analysis will give you the facts. In local government, this may be anything from a population number to a service cost.
- Benefits – The analysis, alongside other council owned data, will enable you to make inferences about the population or cost.
- Advantage – After the facts have been gathered and the inferences understood, the “sell” is now to influence the delivery of services – asking “So what…?” of the data.
If there is a fact resulting from analysis of a cohort of the population, what is the implication of it? What will the effect be on services in the future? How can the analysis inform policy and delivery? What can we do, as analysts, to provide meaning, context and guidance to frontline practitioners?
At the end of the analysis….simply ask “So What?”.
To access an electronic copy of CACI’s ‘Innovation from the frontline’ presentation given at the LARIA conference alongside Worcestershire County Council, click the link. For further information about CACI’s geodemographic segmentation solutions please get in touch with Stewart Eldridge (firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7605 6164) or Patrick Tate (email@example.com).