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Dear 18F: How can I help shift the cultural mindset in my organization from traditional business intelligence to more prescriptive/predictive solutions? Basically, I’m trying to shift the mindset from “gut-based” and old-report-based decisions, to analytical-model-based decisions.

Kara Reinsel – Product Manager

In terms of moving to an analytics-base model, I wouldn’t start there. That comes further in the process. First you have to get people comfortable with trusting their users. You have to figure out what users care about and what makes them tick. Figure out your users’ needs and wants and start there. Understanding user needs will help you to figure out which metrics to track and how - if you don’t have alignment between user needs and measurement, then switching to an analytical model won’t make a difference.

It’s also important to understand what is the need that you’re trying to address within your organization. If you’re really trying to change a mindset, then you have to understand why your organization relies on making gut-based decisions. You have to understand the reason why they’re using the current system. What is the need to move towards the analytics-based model and how do you hope it will change things at your organization

Also remember that the new model must be embraced by the whole organization, not just one department or team. To encourage support, you may want to consider testing out the new analytics-based model first on a small scale - gather feedback, see what works and doesn’t, test and iterate. Then you’ll have real world data and feedback to share as you work to roll out the new approach across the organization. When you start gathering data don’t forget to also talk to users and listen to their feedback. Then you can use that data and research to help support an analytics model change. Invite stakeholders to be part of the process. Resist the urge to do things behind closed doors, otherwise you can lose trust and increase skepticism.

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