In 1914, the Ford English School fostered shared language between the company’s workers who spoke many languages and had diverse perspectives. By establishing a shared understanding and fluency in the English language, Ford’s school led to increased safety and efficiency and better citizens.
Now more than one hundred years later, data literacy is the baseline language according to Valerie Logan, CEO and Founder of The Data Lodge.
Logan and Dr. Steven Moskowitz, Director, Digital Transformation at Entegris and Chairman of Innovation Research Interchange (IRI), a division of the National Association of Manufacturers, presented a case study at MLC’s Rethink 2022 Summit titled Fostering Data Literacy: The What, Why and How.
The case study explained that data literacy is the language of data – the ability to read, write, and communicate with data in context. Logan emphasized that the context is important and differs depending on a person’s role. Further, she said, mindset, language and skills are the keys to fostering data literacy.
When Entegris kicked off its digital journey, they took time to examine the corporate culture and then aligned their digital strategy with that culture so different teams could connect to Entegris’ digital thread and move from data to insights to actions and decisions. Logan shared that fostering community and collective languages across a diversity of backgrounds opens new channels for the entire organization.
For Moskowitz, data literacy isn’t about dumping data on people. It is important to communicate the story and explain the decisions and actions that the data necessitates.
At its core, data literacy is a development tool, but it requires enablement and engagement. According to Moskowitz, the impact of shared data literacy isn’t always measurable, but if you don’t establish literacy, the cost could be significant.
Photo by David Bohrer / National Assoc. of Manufacturers