Data Culture Part 2: The Science Of Behavior Change—and How to Use It

How Data Culture Can Lead to Better Decision Making

So you’ve heard data is important, and how properly using it can enact positive change. But how do you get there? And how can your company use data to drive behavior change?  

Broadly speaking, data can help you make better decisions. 

In our day-to-day lives, we use data all the time. If you’re cooking eggs in the morning, you’re relying on your previous knowledge of your stove to gauge just how hot “medium” really is. If you’re going out for ice cream, you might combine your positive experiences with chocolate and coconut to inform your decision to get the Mounds-bar flavor (sounds tasty). 

Put simply, data is information. 

And when we use information to make predictions, manage expectations, and explain concepts, we can make better decisions

This is why using a stove top and unfamiliar pan to cook eggs can sometimes result in a less-than-ideal omelet. In the same vein, if you’ve never encountered a Mounds bar before, your ice cream choice is a shot in the dark. Without information, without data, we might make choices that create negative results. 

When it comes to decisions more important than a perfect breakfast or dessert, there’s more variety in the impact of data on our lives. 

Depending on your industry and the size of your organization, you might think of data as more or less useful, and more or less relatable to strategy, as well as your own position. But here are just a few examples of how data culture can positively impact decision making, industry-wide: 

Digital Marketing 

In marketing, digital data has become exceedingly useful, with near-immediate results informing the next round of advertisements and public relations efforts. Companies pull metrics used to drive strategy in their next campaign. For example, gathering data about click-through rates on a blog, or the number of comments on an Instagram post, can be used to reframe and hone material to be more effective in later iterations. 

Healthcare 

In a hospital setting, healthcare professionals need rapid, simplified ways to explain complicated and sensitive information to patients and their families, like how to plan for chemotherapy, side effects, and overlapping care plan timelines. Healthcare professionals also need ways to visualize and manage the spread of diseases—a subject we’ve all become familiar with.

Finance 

Knowing you can make solid financial decisions is crucial to a feeling of security and safety. When it comes to financial advising, whether someone is looking to buy a house or send grandchildren to college someday, you need to show forecasts based on hard data to help them make smart, sustainable choices they stick to.

In the above examples, data is used to tell a story. The common thread in their success is the way complex information is distilled into simple, informative graphics designed to elicit the desired behavior.  Using facts and figures to help buyers, customers, and coworkers navigate their decisions is an art, made simple with technology like Newton. 

The balance between culture and technology… is important. 

However, a word to the wise: in a global survey of analytics leaders, Cindi Howson found 61% of respondents said the company culture (not the technology or the people) is the biggest barrier to becoming a data-driven organization. So when building data culture within your niche, make it clear to all employees and decision makers you’re not imposing data upon them. Instead, explain how data will help them understand more about the organization, and empower them to make informed decisions internally as well as help their patients/customers/co-workers come to decisions that move them forward toward their ultimate goal.

This will allow you to truly drive positive behavioral trends within your teams and your client base. Don’t treat data as a gatekeeping mechanism—instead, use tools like Newton to democratize data and make it accessible to the employees who could really use it. 

Strong data culture can make tough decisions less complicated for everyone involved, especially when tools like Newton are in play. A culture that values data empowers employees to move forward logically and confidently, knowing they have facts and a comprehensive understanding of the material to back their decisions up. 

With customizable, high-impact visuals, Newton can help your company create meaningful change.