why you should care about data literacy

Findings from the Data Literacy Project, Proving Its Importance & Value

You are illiterate if you cannot draw meaning from written words. You are data illiterate if you cannot draw meaning from data, from numbers. A more refined definition: “… the ability to read, work with, analyze, and argue with data.” Others would add that it includes the ability to apply data accurately to life and work, to make good data-informed decisions.

So how much does data literacy matter? The Data Literacy Project commissioned a study on that question. They worked out ways to identify data-literate workers and data-literate companies.

The basic finding: companies with higher data-literacy scores earn more money. Higher data-literacy scores mean higher gross margin, higher return-on-assets, higher return-on-equity, and higher return-on-sales, all of that and more. Also:

1. 93% of business leaders believe data literacy is important to their industry and that it’s important for their employees to be data literate.

2. 24% of the global workforce feel confident about working with data.

3. 34% of companies provide data literacy training.

So – companies do better when they are data literate, executives believe in its importance, few workers feel they have it, and (relatively) few companies help them get it.

A group of research companies and academics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania did the research. The data-analytics-and-visualization company Qlik was also involved. Mike Capone, the CEO of Qlik, wrote, “The ability to translate data into useable information that inspires action still eludes many of us: widespread data skills do not exist across today’s workforce, data is not democratized, and data-driven decision-making in neither incentivized nor encouraged.”

The study was limited to for-profit companies, but there is no question that data literacy, in our time, is also vitally important for nonprofits. It can help companies earn more. It can help nonprofits do more, and do it better. Don’t be a data dunce. Learn. The Data Literacy Project can help.

love, joy, peace … Michael

www.michaeljaffarian.com. Michael is a freelance consultant to nonprofits, with an emphasis on research. Contact him for a free, one-hour consultation. emichaeljaffarian@gmail.com.

Vol. 1 No. 22

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