There’s a place for everyone in the world of data and analytics.

Embracing the power of data in today's world is non-negotiable!

From healthcare to transportation, education to urban planning, data and analytics are revolutionising how we shape public services. But here's the catch: it's not just for the data-savvy – to harness its full potential entire workforces need data skills and a ‘data aware’ mindset!

Many non-data professionals find themselves overwhelmed by the rapid growth of data analytics. The goal of achieving organisation-wide data literacy is not to turn everyone into data scientists, but rather to empower individuals to understand and use data to inform the decisions they make in their respective roles. Put simply, developing data literacy enables everyone to dive into the world of data with confidence!

Cultivating data literacy became a focus for Essex County Council (ECC) in 2021 as we began to lay the foundations for our data strategy and set out to make data everyone’s business. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step! Over the past three years we have achieved much, and learned much more! Most importantly we have learned that achieving data literacy is not a one-time endeavour. Just as digital skills have evolved over time, so too do the requirements for individual and organisational data literacy. We recognise that to achieve, and enable data-literate workforces to flourish, an ecosystem needs to be in place.

The journey towards organisational data literacy begins with a clear vision and strategy for realising the potential of data. Executive sponsorship is not only crucial for driving data culture but also for continual investment in comprehensive learning and development programmes. And when progress is made the real challenge remains, adopting an enterprise-wide approach that equips and enables the newly data aware workforce to thrive.

There’s much organisations can do to support people to speak the language of data, develop critical thinking, remain curious, and adopt a fresh perspective on applying and amplifying data and analytics initiatives. And there’s much more that individuals can do to invest in themselves!

In ECC we’re continually learning about what works, applying new knowledge, identifying our gaps, iterating, and improving, and we’re keen to share this journey with our peer organisations. We’ve made progress by defining what data literacy means for ECC and why it matters for our people and organisation outcomes. We’ve spent time assessing data literacy levels within our organisation, identifying the essential skills and behaviours for our workforce, and implementing upskilling approaches that deliver tangible results.

It’s time for everyone to invest in the data skills transformation. Join us for the Speak Data session at Data Talks and learn how to support your team and organisation to speak the language of data. No, a data science degree is not required, neither is an endless supply of resources – just a willingness to explore what’s possible and sharpen your data literacy skills.

There’s a place for everyone in the world of data and analytics. Let's empower everyone to unlock the value of data! Register for Data Talks 4 March and join us for the Speak Data, Embrace the Era of Data Literacy session from ECC and the Office for National Statistics!

You may be interested in the full Data Talks programme! Taking place 4-6 March there’s 16 sessions, delivered by 20 organisations, and something for everyone working in the public sector.


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