Transforming data into information and then into insight is what makes it valuable and helps it fuel creativity, according to Dr Chelsea Wise, Head of Behavioural Science at Pureprofile and first speaker Against Is Data Killing Creativity?
Data is facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis, and it may be qualitative or quantitative. It’s hard when people say it’s information. No, it’s merely facts and statistics collected together that we can draw on at a later stage.
When you help people make sense of data, no one argues that data when transformed into information and transformed again into insight has got in their way of a pursuit for some solution. Whether it be creative or not.
In the measurement, collection and analysis of data, whether qualitative or quantitative, the pursuit of the truth is critical. And it is when data is transformed into insight, with context that it can inform the discovery of new ideas.
They may not seem so, but scientists are some of the most creative people we have, and they demonstrate this through their pursuit of the truth using data.
Here we can pick on the late Steve Jobs, who connected previously disconnected things together to create new ideas with an emphasis on super simplicity. It’s almost possible to feel guilty that the end solution is so obvious, but incredibly difficult to achieve.
The pursuit and understanding of insights does not come easy, and people shouldn’t assume they do. The availability of data won’t necessarily lead to information and insight. Looking for an insight amongst data is like looking for a needle in a haystack.
Individuals have a tendency to be scared of numbers, and be scared of processing information. When people think of the word data they’re thinking Big Bang Theory, not George Clooney. But that’s okay.
Like a relationship, you shouldn’t let one partner walk all over you. You should walk through it. In business, if you ignore the availability of data, your competitor probably isn’t.
Like a good relationship we need to start a friendship with data. Data is not directly killing creativity – there might be an indirect relationship – but it’s absolutely the ambiguity of why the data is required to start with, and what it means in the context of the problem that will kill creativity, success, or the pursuit of truth. Not the mere presence of numbers.
Dr Chelsea Wise is Head of Behavioural Science at Pureprofile. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.