Looking at The Wrong Numbers?

by Jay Deragon on 12/04/2009

Problem With NumbersPeople and business are influenced by numbers. For the years 2008 – 2009 the overall numbers haven’t been very encouraging. Entire industries have been disrupted, the global economy is in transition and everyone and all media is discussing the meaning of these changes.

As we prepare for a new year the media is reporting numbers and using numbers to suggest that “things may be getting better in 2010“. What if they are looking at the wrong numbers?

The Numbers Behind The Numbers

Mike Mandel writes in Business Week: The GDP Mirage: (I strong suggest you read this entire article) “R&D isn’t the only type of intangible investment that seems to be declining. U.S. companies spend an enormous amount on worker training—$134 billion worldwide—but they have been cutting back. The drop started in 2008, when employers reduced their per-worker “learning expenditures” by 3.8%, according to the American Society for Training & Development. No data are available for 2009, but “from anecdotal evidence, obviously there’s a lot of cutback,” says Pat Galagan, executive editor of publications.”

“Ideally, a big burst of training would occur during a period of creative destruction such as this so that people can acquire the skills needed for the jobs of the future. The problem is how to pay for that training, since unemployed people don’t dare spend money on long-term training when they’re worried about short-term survival.”

W. Edwards Deming once said ” In order to truly understand current condition one must look at the numbers behind the numbers and put them into context of systemic performance. Systemic performance is not indicative of measuring  results rather measuring processes behind the results”

What Deming was saying is that measuring results doesn’t tell you what is or isn’t creating the results. Behind every result there are processes, people, markets and related interactions. If you don’t understand the interactions and how well they are performing than you can’t effectively improve the pieces aimed at influencing end results.

What Are The Influences?

Today markets, people, businesses, governments and society at large are influenced most by communications. Media represents a form of communications and media surrounds us, influences us and leads us to conclusions (results). If we are being led to the wrong conclusion (results) then we make poor decisions aimed at creating more results.  Poor decision create bad results and the process repeats itself due to a lack of relevant and relative data from which we should be learning to make more informed and educated decisions.

Social media is an influence on markets. The market of conversations can be used to increase our knowledge, our understanding and the quality of our thinking. That is of course if we are listening to the right conversations and learning from these conversations.

With corporations cutting R&D, training and education just maybe they ought to look at innovative ways to use social media to accomplish the same. But how would they know unless they had the right data?

What does your data tell you? Look behind it.

{ 13 comments }

Max Khazanovich December 5, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? | The Relationship Economy……: Come discuss with us · Friendster redesigned for A… http://bit.ly/4rnfP9

Eddie December 5, 2009 at 10:04 am

the data is an attempt at correlation – it never attempted to show causation. those numbers are just as wrong for picking out what is creating the results as they are for predicting the weather…
.-= Eddie´s last blog ..MATTERmidia: Não só no Brasil, haverá mais dinheiro destinado às mídias sociais em 2010: http://ow.ly/IgJL #social =-.

Top 5k December 5, 2009 at 8:28 am

New blog post: Looking at The Wrong Numbers? http://www.relationship-economy.com/?p=7829

Harish Kotadia December 5, 2009 at 8:28 am

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? http://bit.ly/6gU1di #sCRM #PR #socmed

andrew washington December 5, 2009 at 7:39 am

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? | The Relationship Economy…… http://bit.ly/4rnfP9

StarGazon December 4, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? /The Relationship Economy……/ – This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series … http://tinyurl.com/yk4f5lx

Martin December 4, 2009 at 5:41 pm

[email protected] Looking at The Wrong Numbers?: This entry is part 13 of 13 in the series Social Media DirectionsPeople … http://bit.ly/5Jfcjv

Aron Stevenson December 4, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? http://bit.ly/8knhVg
#socialmedia

kelvin lee December 4, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? http://bit.ly/6Vx5hy

Jolt Social Media December 4, 2009 at 1:41 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? http://bit.ly/4rnfP9
#socialmedia

Business 3.0 Tech. December 4, 2009 at 12:35 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? http://tinyurl.com/yh66qcu People and business are influenced by numbers. For the years 2008 – 2009 the over..

JobShoots December 4, 2009 at 12:31 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers? http://bit.ly/8BBlFv #news #socialmedia

Joe Grasso December 4, 2009 at 12:07 pm

Looking at The Wrong Numbers?: With corporations cutting R&D, training and education just mayb.. http://bit.ly/8knhVg
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