The MIT CISR Data Board,[foot]The MIT CISR Data Research Advisory Board (the “Data Board”) is a community of data and analytics leaders from MIT CISR member organizations who participate in and inform MIT CISR research. See “Data Research Advisory Board,” MIT CISR website, https://cisr.mit.edu/content/data-board.[/foot] a community of senior data leaders from large global organizations, has spent the past few months discussing promising shifts inside their companies: Chief data officers are being appointed and elevated. Data literacy programs abound. Strategic data investments are getting approved.
Now that data is prominently featured on the C-suite agenda, Data Board leaders are determined to harness and channel all that new energy productively. They want everyone to see that data is helping their companies achieve core organizational goals, from social responsibility to customer satisfaction to shareholder returns. We call this pursuit “inspiring hearts and minds,” and it’s fostering among these executives’ colleagues a radical upsurge in the commitment to data.
As leaders incorporate data pursuits into their future-ready transformation roadmap, they tend to champion an easy vision (“data is a strategic asset”) and offer ubiquitous training (“data literacy”). But the boundless potential of data will not be realized via management jargon. To foster a radical escalation of commitment, organizations need their people to engage with and experience data firsthand. Only through action will employees come to believe that data can create value in new ways, that it can do so over and over and over again, and that everyone in the company can play a role. As evidence builds, organizations will no longer just talk the talk; instead, they will interweave data into future-ready business activities. MIT CISR research has identified three actions that business and data leaders can take to make this happen.