Everything these days is being quantified. Corporations subject their employees to a myriad of reports on a regular basis. These reports not only measure sales and demographics but the timing and workflow that are involved in employee metrics. Of course, it's not only big business that uses this kind of data. Our news and social media feeds are full of surveys and research studies that focus on everything from health and politics to frivolous ways to spend our free time. And even local businesses survey their customer from time to time, in order to tweak operations for efficiency and growth.
This topic is something that is actually on my mind quite a bit as I struggle with the onslaught of big data that is taking over our business culture. Although my job as Executive Producer of Special Events for PLuGHiTz Live keeps me busy with things like travel schedules, event calendars/planning, and even audio/video recording and mixing, I also have a full-time job at a large bank. Of course, stats are important in both of these jobs but they are very different in how they are structured and measured. I often get frustrated with the ever-growing list of metrics that measure employee performance at the bank. They find a way to pull numbers from multiple processes and manipulate them in a way that supposedly measures our performance efficiency. One of the favorite quotes used by upper management is, "numbers don't lie." And although that statement, in and of itself is true, it can also be very misleading, in my opinion. Just because those numbers that they present to us are absolute, it doesn't mean that they tell the whole picture. After all, there is an infinite amount of ways to get from the number one to the number two. It's all in the extraction and presentation. That's why it was so refreshing to see the work that Carlos Romero and his team at Apex are doing.
Apex is a consulting firm that concentrates on program evaluation and health education social service programs. They recognized through their work that there is a lot more to the data that goes unmeasured. This additional information can actually be helpful to businesses and consumers. Through this new understanding, two new apps emerged. They are tied together by the premise that we have too much data and not enough insight. Brilliant!! Their newer app, which is being showcased here at Collision, is called Perspectives. It combines the more common survey style with a video element. It's an important addition because we have a lot of data but we need context to derive meaning from it. This could translate to more data or that we need the story behind the data. The app is about just that. How do we collect more stories and analyze them in more rigorous ways to work in conjunction with the quantitative data, supporting valuations for learning?
This added layer allows for a better analysis. You can learn from the qualitative data just as much, and sometimes more than from the quantitative data. It gives a much different perspective as it adds the words, feelings, and actions that can be acted upon instead of just the data from a specific set of questions.
Results can be very eye-opening. It turns out that the thing that you thought you were measuring, based upon the way that you are doing it, is not necessarily the same way it is perceived by your clients, etc. This added power, depth and richness from an actual interview is then combined with the efficiency of a survey. You can then see what patterns that immerge from the short videos, as well as other media. It offers so much more than just the traditional, what did you like? And many times you will get responses that you hadn't even considered.
The basic idea of the app is to braid together all of the existing technologies into one seamless system. And you can learn more about this exciting new type of analysis by watching our interview and also by checking out their website.
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