I’ve been receiving a lot of calls from people asking how they can use data to ‘help’.
To help frame a potential response that isn’t just ‘we can build an app for that’ (that’s very rarely the answer), I’ve been trying to encourage people to first look at user needs and prior work. In times of ’emergency’ there’s a rush for people to want to ‘do something’— let’s harness that energy on useful things rather than squander it on ‘solutionising’?
Here’s a provocation process to ask how we can try and focus on what matters; that can unlock rapid-response from a frontline delivery team who can focus on solutions. At the same time, let’s also avoid just breaking things in the process, and give the frontline team (and the rest of us) the confidence that there is a process following them that will tidy up.
Questions to consider:
- What problems are we really trying to solve — based on actual user needs?
- How will data help these problems? (what data, what analysis, etc?)
- Who should act to convene and lead: a sector, public body, both?
- When are solutions needed and what might be our MVP intervention? (this may not need any data)
- What single-issue could act as an exemplar?