Data Literacy: Skills To Analyze Data | Visualization Techniques and Practice |

Curated by Beth Kanter

Do your employees have the skills to benefit from big data? As Tom Davenport and DJ Patil note in their October Harvard Business Review article on the rise of the data scientist, the advent of the big data era means that analyzing large, messy, unstructured data is going to increasingly form part of everyone's work. Managers and business analysts will often be called upon to conduct data-driven experiments, to interpret data, and to create innovative data-based products and services. To thrive in this world, many will require additional skills.

  • Ready to experiment: How to apply the principles of scientific experimentation to their work.    Intelligent hypotheses.  
  • Adept at Math Reasoning:   How can you interpret numeric data.  You don't have to be a statistician, but how to apply it.
  • See the Big Picture:  Manipulating, managing, and intepretating data, including not just numbers, but text and images.  Data literacy skills must spread into every aspect of operating a nonprofit or business.

Tomorrow's leaders need to ensure that their people have these skills, along with the culture, support and accountability to go with it. In addition, they must be comfortable leading organizations in which many employees, not just a handful of IT professionals and PhDs in statistics, are up to their necks in the complexities of analyzing large, unstructured and messy data.

It is about fostering a data-driven mindset and analytical culture as it is about adopting new technology.