Long gone are the days where one department is the “data office”. Nearly every office and department uses data. Many even generate and store their own data. Data people are everywhere, bringing them together can make your job easier.
Why Aren’t Data Creators Talking More?
If there are many data creators, where are the data discussion groups? Aside from being too busy, data creators and users can often have different approaches and access to data. While some people look at some data, others may not have access to it. So, we have a need to bring data people together to cross share their analyses more.
Bringing the Data People Together
Ask the questions that you wish people would ask you: If you are a data wonk, you know that it’s not often that someone asks you about your recent analyses and what you find interesting. So be that data person who asks others the questions you would want to be asked! This shows your interest in the person and their work, and you will learn the types of projects that they are working on. This is important for building relationships and cross-sharing info.
Coordinate a regular forum: Create a brown bag lunch, info session, seminar that allows for data folks to share some information about a recent report with other data wonks. Why? People learn about other data that is available, ask questions, and make suggestions that will make future analyses better.
Send an article/resource to other data people: If you are reading this, chances are you read a variety of news services. When you see an article that you think may be relevant to someone’s work, send it to them. Instead of sending an “FYI” email with a link, include a note that indicates why you thought about them and what stood out in the article. This takes an extra 3-5 minutes of your time, but it now is a discussion topic the next time you see them. Or, better yet, include a proposal to grab coffee or lunch to talk more about it or pick their brain. Your conversation may lead to more ideas for how you can bring the data people on campus together.
Have you uncovered data allies hiding on your campus? What tips do you have for finding and bringing them together? We’d love to hear them!