Inspiring Analytics Quotes: "Without data, you're just another person with an opinion." - W. Edwards Deming
Many of us working in the Data Science, Research Technology, and Information Management communities have heard this quote time and time again. But what does it really say about our own industrial revolution in Analytics? And especially, what does it really say about the ever-increasing significance that meaningful information provides to all pertinent stakeholders?
The short answer: A LOT.
And here is the long answer: without data, there is nothing to analyze. There is no additional value created. There is no scientific, advanced critical thinking that occurs, that is more than what science - by definition - aims to abstain from. And that is, pure opinion. This is not saying that specific opinions aren't valuable; in fact opinions from professionals who have a multitude of experience working in highly specialized fields can carry quite a lot of worth. However, you can't objectively (scientifically) evaluate opinions for anything more than what they are worth without data, assuming that you trust the source of information itself to begin with.
Out of this, comes a direct need to justify opinions with much more than the opinion itself coming from a trustworthy source. There needs to be fact-checking, verification, some kind of reliable process that can back up what is being said. Anybody could give their opinion on as many topics as one would have an audience for, but what is the point of listening if the audience doesn't know, in some way, that what the person is saying, is at least, somewhat factual?
This is why access to applicable data, and more importantly, the analytical processes that transform data points into meaningful insights, has become such an important aspect of all categories of business within industries not just locally, but globally as well. We need data, first and foremost, to make sound, goal-specific decisions in an ever-increasing world where opinions are readily available, but factual consultation may be seemingly sparse. This is why experts in Data Science, Research Technology, and Information Technology are in such great demand right now.
Anyone can have an opinion, but it takes analysis of data, on some level, to have a truth. From those truths, are where meaningful insights are generated, and ultimately where value is created.
Today, I thank you, Mr. Deming, for not just being a Data Science pioneer, but a voice of reason in an increasingly complex world that is full of opinion, but few who are willing to back up what they say with data.
So, as members of The Chicago Analytics Group, what can we learn from W. Edwards Deming's famous quote?
The short answer: A LOT.
The insights: it is not only significant that we, as data-loving practitioners, push our industries forward in respectable ways congruent to the scientific and law-abiding citizens that we are; but that we also stride forward with the sense of purpose that motivates and mentors others to achieve a similar sense of respect for what drives us all: the connection to and the application of data for positive value creation.
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Have a great day,
Founder, The Chicago Analytics Group