How analytics leads to behavioural change

Contrast_Paddlers

Analytics is about making differences obvious in a way that enables changes in behaviour and outcomes

At the 2015 Australian Tableau Conference, I gave a presentation on the application of Sports Science using Tableau and new generation ETL tools like Lavastorm and Alteryx. Using these tools helped my (Manly Dragons) Dragon Boating Club team to analyse team and individual technique and make positive changes to training routines. I got some great feedback on the presentation and Tableau has now kindly made a video of it available on their Customer Stories page. 

If you take a look, you can also see the Viz I created that compares different paddling styles. Using this, the team’s paddlers could envisage and understand the differences between their technique and their teamates’. An old coach used to say “there are 3 paddlers in everyone, the paddler they think they are, the paddler everyone else thinks they are and the paddler they actually are.” She was exactly right. The Viz removes two of those perceptions, leaving only the true paddler.

The Viz really does make differences obvious in a way that enabled changes in behaviour and outcomes for the team. In the example the behaviour is use of a paddle, but it can easily be variance in a production line or ANY business process. When I am developing analytics, my thought process is:

How can this information be portrayed to make desired change obvious?

Will it be easy for the audience to understand why or how that desired change is needed or should be done? 

This is more important than technical skills necessary to complete the work— they are a means to an end. The real skill is the ability to create change by presenting information in a way that minimises change inertia, whatever the cause of that inertia. You also need insight into causes of inertia if you are trying to change something; what is obvious to you may not be obvious to the people involved in the process.

It’s exciting to see the story and video on the Tableau site. I am also very excited to be going to Las Vegas next week for the 2015 Tableau Conference. I look forward to coming home with new insights, tricks and geeky stuff for the Brisbane Tableau User Group on November 11. I hope to see you there!

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