Data Is The New Oil: Untapped

Data in the 21st Century is like Oil in the 18th Century: an untapped, immensely valuable asset. And like Oil, for those who see Data’s fundamental value and learn to extract and use it there will be huge rewards.

Let’s take a typical scenario. A hundred person recruitment company wants to hire an experienced consultant for themselves. What do they do? Generally, they will write a job description, give it to HR and start interviewing candidates. If you asked them whether they knew what they were looking for they’d say yes. Kahneman would call this overconfidence. I would call it naïve.

The first step in recruiting a candidate five times better than average is defining what five times better than average looks like. In recruitment firms you have great performers and you have poor performers. Everyone knows who the great performers are. But no one knows why. They’ll tell you they know why. But remember, humans are biased.

To define elite performance you must go beyond the results to understand the behaviours and activities that led to this success. The reasons for success are often hidden and without recent innovations in data science would have remained so.  Yet, the answers to elite performance are within everyone’s grasp. Companies are sitting on top of their greatest asset like an Oil field. The answers to elite performance are ready to gush from within our internal databases, long forgotten email chains and dusty voice recordings.

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