Six (6) Critical Areas Nigerian Businesses must understand to Engage Data for Growth. (Part A)
“The core purpose of research and smart use of data (Intelligence) is not to tell us what we already know, reveal surface level information or validate professional experience in a particular area, but to lead us to the true and evolving story of causations, mechanisms etc., in its depths, facets and patterns for innovative engagements and improving humanity”.
Gospel Obele – CEO Streetnomics
It is no longer news that data and (intelligence) is critical to unlocking human, business, systems and national potential towards its desired and preferred goals and objectives for both direct and indirect stakeholders. To engage this narrative, campaigns have been ongoing and the increasing “noise” on its relevance. For some, empowering youths, the girl child, organizations etc. to get on board on what is now being regarded as the new oil has become an end in itself. In the midst of these is a growing dearth in understanding the critical dynamics that will define the extent to engagement and unlocking the potentials with the power of data.
A few critical areas that must be well understood for businesses who seek to lead data for innovation that solves the actual problem not what they think the problem is are as follows:
Science: This involves ability to look at a phenomenon and determine what type, approach, methods, tool and tool mix, and conceptual framework will be best suited to deliver the right understanding of the problem and the best-fit innovative solutions to its existing patterns.
Context: This comes before the ART because it informs how science is applied. Here we are asking ourselves what is the nature of the phenomenon/problem in the environment we are trying to understand it and proffer solutions for. What are the cultural and environmental nuances we must consider for effective science application and accurate findings? It is important to note that the higher the understanding of context, the better the design and application of science, the better the execution that increases the chances of getting the right and smart information required, and the more accurate and smarter the findings will be.
Art: This explains understanding context enough to creatively apply science. This is creative execution to ensure the right and smart information is collected for best fit innovative solutions. Inasmuch as science is very good, the context and art goes a long way to define the credibility of finding and ability for data to inform strategic engagement on where and what matters for profits. This is one major reason why many well researched information cannot be strategically applied for use by decision makers. Thus leading to the difficulty in acceptance and willingness to investment in research and development, on one end, a case of academic theory VS professional pragmatism.
Technology: This is critical for the execution, storage and effective understanding of information, scenario planning, testing and strategic use. There is growing conversation on technology at the heart of the data transformation thus the emergence of concepts like data science, data mining etc. But this also has been overemphasized at the expense of improving science, understanding contexts, the art and human mind that seats behind the computer or operates the software, such that so much Is technologically driven but out of touch with reality, the right and smart information gathering and tracking real time market pulse/execution.
A case in point was when Organisation A engaged us for youth (education to employment) research both on the supply and demand (for labour) side, the design was built knowing the unemployment narrative in Nigeria, the players and some fundamental knowledge form the Nation Bureau of statistics, journals etc. The methods, execution we developed to effectively reach the 10 stakeholders involved after an exhaustive profiling of these stakeholders. The process of delivery value was first the analytical (mind) applied across science, context, art and technology for a robust, comprehensive yet granular perspective on what matters.
Author – Gospel Obele