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How realistic is a four-day working week in our lifetime? Working from home has recalibrated our expectations, but it has also surfaced new challenges for all of us.   

To go deeper, this week I am joined by Bruce Daisley, a best-selling author and one of the most respected thought leaders on the subject of workplace culture and the future of work. 

Bruce was welcomed recently by the IMI with his Future of Work Series session on Workplace Culture. 

This conversation was recorded on April 26th, 2021.
Subscribe: Spotify, iTunesTuneInSoundcloudAcastStitcher – or search ‘IMI Talking Leadership’ in your podcast provider of choice.
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When I ask the question how data driven is your organisation, I invariably get back a positive answer because of course everybody uses data in their work. However, if I ask the question do you treat data as an asset, the answers are much more subdued and vague. Observing the difference in the two answers is very interesting (if not concerning) as every organisation appreciates the importance of data and its impact on all aspects of the business. Yet, very few really appreciate data as an asset, even though this appreciation is at the core of being data driven as an organisation. Given this difficulty, I have outlined a few simple questions that will help you examine your (and your organisation’s) conceptualisation of data as an asset, which also point to a number of simple changes you can make.

 

  1. What financial measures do you use for organisations data? The key characteristic of any asset is that it produces financial value. Applying the same logic to data, it is essential that financial measures are utilised for data. For some, the idea of putting a value or financial measure on something as intangible as data sounds weird, but if you don’t have any financial measures in place, how can you even know if your data has value or not. Simple measures such as the cost of data should be recorded by either (a) calculating the cost of acquiring, integrating, analysing and delivering a particular data set, or (b) calculating the cost of replacing a data set if you suffered a full non-recoverable data loss. Other measures such as: market value, depreciation, appreciation, and revenue generation should also be included.
  2. What type of language do you use to have data conversations? A good indicator of whether an organisation treats its data as an asset is the language they use to describe and discuss data. If an organisation has a mature apprehension of data as an asset they will have a very concise language that is aligned to that of an asset. For instance, many of the terms described above (e.g. appreciate, depreciation, value, cost, investment) would be very closely tied to conversations around data. Other terms and concepts such as: life-cycles, renewal, governance and ownership will also be common within data conversations.
  3. Have you clearly separated IT assets from data assets? The tangibility and commercial nature of IT have made it easy for people to view IT as an asset. However, due to the fact that IT is the container and infrastructure on which data flows, organisations have a lot of difficulty in separating the two types of assets. This leads to a number of issues, including: the mistake of making technology the central focus of projects to the detriment of any data priorities. For instance, emphasis gets placed more on the type of technology to be utilised rather than the data requirements for projects.
  4. How do you maintain the condition of your data? The perquisite of answering this, is first knowing the condition of your data. The majority of organisations will admit that their data is not all of good quality but fail to actually quantity how good or bad it is. Key to understanding good quality data is noting that while data is not depletable (the amount of data does not diminish with use), more data is not necessarily better and it is also perishable if not kept up-to-date and accurate. Without practices in place to ensure your data is of good quality you will never get the most out of data as an asset.
  Finally, it is worth remembering that behind every good asset are strong data savvy managers that continually ask the questions above, fully understand the value of data, and instinctively know how to facilitate a data driven organisation.  
Tadgh Nagle UCC
Tadhg Nagle is joint Programme Director of the IMI Diploma in Data Business and IMI MSc in Data Business. He is also a lecturer and researcher in Information Systems at University College Cork. With a background in financial services his expertise is in strategic innovation and emerging and disruptive technologies. _____________________________________ [post_title] => Do you treat your data as an Asset? [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => treat-data-asset [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2020-05-11 19:53:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2020-05-11 19:53:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://www.imi.ie/?p=15829 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) )
Jay Chopra

Jay Chopra

8th Jul 2022

Related Articles

Episode 42 | Mapping the Future of Work with Bruce Daisley
Do you treat your data as an Asset?

Jay Chopra: Taking the radical approach to navigate change

“Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learned. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and, where appropriate, profits.” – Dr Edward de Bono

The business world is rapidly changing, so rapidly that every day we wake up with challenges we have never encountered before. How can we ensure that we rise to the challenge of this constant change and proactively create the future of work, instead of being sucked into the vortex of the post-Covid world? The answer is by nurturing and harnessing radical creativity.  

The problem is, however, that creativity is perceived as an intangible concept that lacks proper definition and is difficult to operationalise. In our work, we define creativity as the habit of thinking differently to generate ideas, both big and small, that have business value. This business value can reach from a brand-new product idea, to a new HR practice, to safety improvements on a manufacturing site.  

As children, we are very creative and think expansively, but many of us lose this innate ability when we are taught to think more rationally and reductively in education, and at work. We start to default to the unproductive habit of thinking “harder.” Thinking harder does not lead to creativity, but to frustration when we are unable to come up with the new solutions required. We need to have the courage to think differently if we want to embrace radical creativity.   

To be radically creative, we need to reach a level of absurdity and apparent irrelevance in our thinking; ideas that are so far out there, they do not seem to have a direct connection with the challenge that requires solving.  

Let’s look at an example: an airline wants to increase revenue. In a brainstorm meeting, a colleague suggests putting seats on the wings of the airplanes. An absurd idea, right? Before judging too soon, let’s embrace this level of absurdity. Of course, it is impossible to put actual seats on the wings, but what is the key concept of the idea? No screaming children? Now, let’s ask ourselves how else this key concept could be achieved: adult-only flights?  

By using these two simple steps, we have come up with an idea that arguably, we would not have come up with by simply thinking harder, and it is realistic to implement and offers a competitive edge. 

To help further define how to nurture and operationalise radical creativity, we need to embrace the following five creative habits: 

Indicating 

Indicating is the practice of clearly stating what stage of the creative process we are currently in (expansive or reductive). Most conflict in the creative process arises when there is no clear indication if we are in the expansive or reductive phase, as these opposite thinking styles cannot happen at the same time.  

Sparking 

To develop radically creative ideas, we need to break out of our habitual thought processes. Provoke your thinking by using creativity tools, stepping away from your desk and going for a walk, or by talking it out with a colleague that thinks differently to you. 

Fuelling 

Fuelling is all about growing and nurturing ideas to explore their potential. Instead of judging ideas too soon and thinking reductively, make sure to spend some time exploring every idea until it is developed into a full concept. The key is to create an environment where ideas have a chance to grow and develop instead of getting shot down prematurely. 

Playfulness 

Where do you have your best ideas? Whatever your answer might be, it most likely will not be “At my desk!” But why is that? At work, our brains are in busy beta brainwaves. However, to be truly creative, we need to access our creative alpha brainwaves. This can be achieved by playing, relaxing, laughing, or repetitive actions. Do not be afraid to step away from your desk and let go.  

Courage 

And speaking of not being afraid, have the courage to think absurdly and be radically creative. Courage is about consistently reaching outside your comfort zone and taking calculated risks to make a shift happen. Have the courage to speak up and share your ideas, and also have the courage to listen to other people’s ideas. Sounds a little too risky? Start small and slowly build your courage muscle by practicing taking calculated risks on small things before jumping into the deep end.  

By following these five creative behaviours, you will be able to nurture and operationalise radical creativity in a way that will help you navigate change better. It will also foster collaboration within your organisation, drive innovation culture, and allow for more organisational agility. Let radical creativity become an integral part of your workday and see for yourself. 

___ 

■ Jay Chopra is an IMI Associate faculty member and Managing Director of Making Shift Happen, a boutique organisational development consultancy, focused on improving performance by making work more human. Anne Mahler is the Academy Lead and Organisational Development consultant at Making Shift Happen. 

This article was first published in the Irish Examiner on 7th July, 2022. Click here to read it online.

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