On a Radiolab podcast last summer, I learned about a condition known as Face Blindness, which isn’t the inability to see faces, it’s the inability to recognize and remember the faces of people you have seen before, not only someone you may have just met five minutes ago, but also the faces of people you have known your entire life.
Since the human face is our primary means for identifying others, people with face blindness have to use other, and less reliable, identifying attributes such as clothing, hair color, body shape, and voice. This is also why people with face blindness are often confused when they encounter a person they know, but outside of their usual context, such as running into a co-worker while grocery shopping.
Data Geeks and Business Blindness
(Please Note: data geek is an affectionate term for all data management professionals, including even the occasional data management peep who doesn’t think geek is chic—which, of course, it so is.)
However, when data geeks only see data, they suffer from a condition known as Business Blindness, which is the inability to recognize and remember the business context of data-related issues.
Business context is the face of data. In other words, business context is the organization’s primary means for identifying the business value of data and data management activities.
Therefore, when data geeks use data as the only basis for discussing issues with business nerds, it shouldn’t be surprising that these discussions are often frustrating for everyone involved.
(Please Note: business nerd is an affectionate term for business users, executive management, and anyone else who doesn’t self-identify as either a data geek or data management professional.)
Business nerds are often confused when data geeks discuss data outside of its business context, such as talking about dimensions of data quality (e.g., completeness, consistency, accuracy, uniqueness) without relating those all too often data myopic metrics to how the business actually uses the data to support a business process, accomplish a business objective, or make a business decision.
When data geeks suffer from business blindness, they can’t deliver data-driven business insights.
Are you a data geek who suffers from business blindness?
The Real Data Value is Business Insight.