What can Diversity Advocates Learn from the Power of Data-Driven Decision Making

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With the advent of artificial intelligence and robotic technology, businesses are employing this newly gained power of information technology to gather data that is driving their decisions, decisions that are evidently leading them to rapid business success.  Clearly, business organizations that are employing the power of data-driven decision making are realizing the strategic assets associated with such data as evidenced in their new positions of distinct advantage over their competitors.  Perhaps diversity and inclusion advocates could be more effective if they take a page from successful businesses that employ data-driven decision. I believe that if diversity advocates are serious and wish to address ubiquitous discriminatory practices in our society and our global community, they could replicate what successful businesses are doing- employ data-driven decision in their effort to address the issues associated with diversity and thus become as successful as those business, and ultimately eradicate discriminatory practices and inequalities that are associated with it.

There is clearly a national and international desire to eradicate discriminatory practices and foster equity and social justice for all. I believe that a more eclectic approach that integrates the power of information technology that gathers data along with personal stories will add more grits to the work ahead. Obviously, with evidence that business organizations’ employment of data-driven decision making is leading to positive results in strategic decisions and unimaginable success and it is heartening. Perhaps that should be a lesson for diversity advocates, a lesson that if learned well would provide them the roadmap to replicate what worked for those successful businesses. If data-driven decision making worked well for business, the same model would by the same token work for diversity advocates in their quest to achieve diversity goals, and further foster equality and social justice issues, especially with current uptick in inequality on several fronts.

With the current uptick in discriminatory practices which has resulted in calls for public and private actions to finally address this perennial problem of discriminatory practices which often manifest in form of inequity and lack of social justice for all as evidenced in the Department of Justice inquiry in Ferguson Missouri, Baltimore, Maryland and Chicago Illinois. To that end and to address the issue, I offer and encourage diversity and inclusion advocate a couple of pointers as they strive to address the issues that would inevitably provide them a strategic competitive advantage over their competitors.  Here are some of the critical areas that diversity advocates can benefit from employing strong data and effective communication in their efforts to address diversity issues.

First, they should determine the scope of their diverse needs, and then, search for relevant data that would enable them to meet their specific and unique diversity needs. It’s fundamental that if one wants to utilize data to fulfill a need, one must find the correct data, the kind of data that would enable them to address the identified diversity needs. However, if you collect the wrong data, it would not solve the issue, it’s therefore imperative that diversity advocates align their data in accordance with what they need to solve the issue.

Second, as an organization identifies their diverse needs and subsequently valuable data required to meet those needs, they must have an action plan as to how they plan to employ the data to provide appropriate analytics for meaningful and effective diversity and inclusion goals, as well as the insight to extract ideas from the data that inform diversity decision making, and thus improve their operations in ways that add value to the organization’s strategic plan.

Third, organizations must understand that for them to benefit from data, they must ensure the collection of high-quality data, the kind data that would provide the window for them to address specified needs while providing both internal and as external sources in ways that add value to their future diversity initiatives.

In conclusion, I believe that the only way to tackle the issues of inequity that is so ubiquitous in our society and global communities is for organizations to learn from successful businesses that demonstrated without doubt that data-driven decision making works and that such strategy leads to success. If these business organizations that employed data-driven decision making are successful, it suffices to conclude that Diversity advocates can by the same token employ relevant diversity data to address diversity issues successful.  I believe that besides data, a more comprehensive approach to diversity and inclusion, an approach that embodies setting goals, policies, along with consistent evaluation data to ensure improvement in all areas of diversity and inclusion, and thus cumulatively lead to meaningful success in the organization’s quest to achieve their diversity goals.

I encourage business leaders to work on cultivating and nurturing diversity and inclusion through professional development that is driven by a culture of effective communication that promotes mutual respect and harmonious relationships across diverse groups. I also encourage organizational leaders to commit to continuous training of employees on issues related employing data to foster equity and social justice for all, while engaging in creative activities that provide for an open exchange of ideas on all aspects of diversity in its complex forms. Organizations that employ data along with modern leadership techniques would encourages open exchange of ideas and sharing data and cumulatively employ such valuable information to promote staff and customers’ engagement through the creation of forums for meaningful engagement that would inevitably leads to better understanding of issues associated with diversity and ultimately foster understanding of diversity and its benefit to all.

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Dr. Joseph Nwoye
Dr. Joseph Nwoye has been a university administrator and faculty member for over twelve years. Within those years, he served as assistant professor and director of urban education for over five years. He also served as the director of the Multicultural Center and coordinator of the Urban Mentorship Program at Illinois State University. Dr. Nwoye earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing, Masters in Business Administration, Master’s in Education, and Doctorate in Education. He has researched extensively policies and practices on issues associated with diversity and inclusion. His workshops in the areas of cultural intelligence and belief formation process are essential for any organization that truly wants to employ the synergy associated with diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In addition, Dr. Nwoye has provided consult to several organizations that are genuinely making efforts to diversify the work force while striving for meaningful inclusion. Joseph Nwoye is the founder of Diversity Frontier Inc., an organization that provides a state of the art program and road map for any organization to reach their diversity goals through engaging workshops. He has authored numerous journal articles, two books, and has presented at many national and international conferences. Dr. Nwoye’s research investigates what we know about human behavior in an effort to foster more equity for all people, especially those who encounter problems stemming from a cultural mismatch and misunderstandings.

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