Guest Post: Beyond the Professor: Gilligan’s Island and the data science talent search

I am not a data scientist. I repeat, I am not a data scientist.

Last week I spoke on a panel with the author of this blog and several other decision intelligence executives. Our topic, “Who is Your Chief Decision Officer”, was a hit. The discussion centered on the fact that the data and technology exist today to make “Big Decisions” within complex organizational systems.  However, most companies are missing a strategic owner of the data.

Since technical conference attendees typically flock to see high-level data scientists, or folks doing cool stuff technically, I asked myself why this people-centered topic seemed to resonate.

There are 1,000’s of use cases that cannot be solved with machine learning data only.  These involve complex systems, with little or no historical data.  No matter how sophisticated your algorithm, these issues may always require a human to interpret them. Data can often be siloed and decisions are not made holistically. Our audience had experienced these types of issues in their organizations, and the topic hit home.

At dinner the night before our panel session, we joked that the group was a bit like the cast of Gilligan’s Island. They had the Professor, the Movie Star, the Millionaire, and his wife. We had the Data Scientist, the Analytics Consultant, The Big Data Expert, and the Talent Executive.

So why is this important and how does it relate to decision intelligence?

Decision intelligence answers the question, “If I make this decision today how will it impact my business tomorrow?” It uses a variety of inputs that are diverse and brought together through systems analysis.

Diversity of data and diversity of thought are not that different. We wouldn’t make a complex organizational decision with only one data point and we typically don’t make human impacted decisions with only one point of view.

I repeat, I am not a data scientist, I am a talent executive. I may not be able to write an algorithm but I do have a keen sense of how to build teams of individuals that through their unique talents create innovation. In this case diversity of thought, like diversity of data, knocked it out of the park.

[bctt tweet=”The next time you use DI to make a “Big Decision,” think about the human component.” via=”no”]

Gilligan would be proud.

Update: you can now watch the panel video.

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