I work for a company that collects stats. Years worth of them. Every month I have a meeting and I ask myself as I prepare for that meeting, what else can these numbers tell me? How can i massage the data to get some sense, what stories are locked away in their numbery depths?
You see I am not a numbers person by nature, somewhat more creative and numbers per se are a bit like ‘blah blah blah’ but give me a spreadsheet with graphical capabilities and let the magic begin!
My favorite book at the moment is Freakonomics by Stephens Dubner & Levitt because they validate my view of ask ask ask, manipulate, tweak, stand on your head, and bingo! You get a different answer.
Now I am not saying to create data, but just that looking at it in different ways tells different stories and you should not always just look at the same old same old because there really are some fascinating things just waiting to jump out at you. An annual view of one data set told me a completely different story to quarterly, to monthly which was just so eratic it made my eyeballs ache!
So my point is if you don’t track it you can’t measure it, so track everything you possibly can without being too onerous on your staff, but the second and more important point is don’t go for the obvious, ask different questions of the same data and listen for the quiet stories that lie beneath.
Gotta go, I’m off to tweak some more spreadsheets….