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Data literacy: The key to adoption

Jordan Morrow, Global Head of Data Literacy, Qlik


Establish enterprise-wide data literacy adoption with this six-step approach.

Establish enterprise-wide data literacy adoption with this six-step approach.

As data literacy spins across the world at an incredibly fast rate, organizations are seeing the great importance of this subject to succeed.

In my travels around the world, once organizations grasp the need for data literacy, a common themed question has emerged from my speaking engagements and conversations with enterprises: how can we put into place a data literacy initiative in our own organization? This is a critical concept for all individuals and enterprises to understand. It is one thing to understand why data literacy is important and what it is, and it is an entirely bigger thing to understand how an organization can put into place a strong data literacy initiative. When organizations put into place strong data literacy initiatives and truly empower their employees to make data driven decisions, organizations can experience immense success in the analytics economy. So, how can an organization implement a strong data literacy initiative?

To address this need of organizations to implement strong data literacy initiatives, I built an iterative, six-step approach to help organizations put in place a data literacy program. An overall key to success with data literacy programs is the iterative approach it needs to take. As I speak, I often jokingly ask: “How many of you scored 100% on all of your math tests?” This usually generates a humorous laugh from the audience. Just like we aren’t perfect in our math exams and it takes time to learn concepts and improve, data literacy programs need to be the same. From this mindset of an iterative approach, we can transition to look at the steps of the framework and begin to see how organizations can implement their own data literacy programs.

The six-step approach follows strong principles and helps an organization to evolve naturally to using data effectively. The six-steps are the following:

  1. Planning and Vision – Organizations need to plan a true data literacy vision, embrace it at the Chief Data Officer Level, and ensure the plan and vision are adopted into the organization.
  2. Communication – True communication is needed, so organizations are fully aware of the evolution taking place in the analytics economy.
  3. Workforce Assessment – To ensure people know how to learn and develop, they must know their comfort level with data literacy. This assessment helps to position everyone appropriately for the data literacy learning and initiative.
  4. Culture Learning – Before individual learning, organizations must train on the culture of data literacy. By so doing, individuals know the characteristics and things that need to exist in the data literacy vision.
  5. Prescriptive Learning – Each individual will have their own plan to develop data literacy. Everyone has their own data literacy comfort level and should address it as such!
  6. Measure – We must measure the organizations growth in data literacy. When we measure, we can see the progress the organization is making toward being more data driven.

This was just an intro into the six-steps of a true adoptive framework for data literacy. Organizations looking to be truly data driven need to enhance their data literacy skills, and a proper plan and vision will help that to succeed. Download the full adoptive framework here, click on ‘Enterprise Adoption’, and start your journey to true data driven decision making.