What Lurks Behind Your Data?

Recently, I watched a Ted Talk and I found it spot on as far as how we should bring relevance to data. Because schools are becoming evermore data driven in making decisions, I think it's wise to understand the story behind the data and ask ourselves the hard questions. Susan Etlinger delivered her Ted Talk, What Do We Do with All This Big Data?, from both her head and her heart. She not only shared why learning from data is critical in making decisions, she underscored the importance of telling the story behind the data, which makes the numbers even more relevant. Etlinger states, "data doesn’t create meaning…. we do." I not only agree with her on the data side, I encourage her on the personal side. We have an opportunity to practice our critical thinking skills. We have an opportunity to think, to question, to understand. But, more importantly, we have a responsibility to report data supported by context.


Etlinger urges us to add context to our data, to use our critical thinking skills and to ask the hard questions. "Did the data really show us this or did the result make us feel more successful and more comfortable?"

As you watch, begin thinking of how you present your data to your board, your Head of School or your marketing committee. Are you making the numbers relevant? Are you allowing the data to come alive with a story? If so, you are on your way towards making stronger connections and better decisions, making data more relevant and useful and making headway in the competitive world of admissions.

Visit our site and call me to learn more about how Gowan Group brings relevance and significance to data for schools when we perform demographic studies and marketing, communications and admissions audits.