Technology

Lunchtime Links: With Data, Bigger May Not Mean Better

By / May 13, 2013 (Thinkstock/iStockphoto)

Does size matter when it comes to data? Why big data may actually be a waste of time. Also: How flexible schedules can help you retain and support your employees.

Big data is a big deal these days, but are the results really more useful than the analytics already available to you without all the extra work?

One journalist’s take, and more, in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Big data vs. big buzz: Often, organizations reach for big data, the current buzz-phrase for deep-dive analytics. However, when it comes down to it, it’s not the size of your data but the quality that will yield the best results. And more data often means lower quality, according to one tech writer. “For those of you who don’t normally think in data, what that means is that past a certain point, your return on adding more data diminishes to the point that you’re only wasting time gathering more,” Christopher Mims, science and technology correspondent for Quartz, explains. “One reason: The ‘bigger’ your data, the more false positives will turn up in it, when you’re looking for correlations.”

The upside of flexible schedules: It’s becoming increasingly common for employees (and some bosses) to want flexible schedules. Allowing room for employees to get exposed to ideas outside the office, as well as understanding that most of your staff has or will have  family commitments, can maintain a healthy and productive corporate culture. “Although many companies these days are comfortable demanding constant attention from their employees, few are at ease with the idea that this needs to be reciprocal. And many still persist in thinking this is a women’s issue when it isn’t. It’s a talent and retention issue,” says author and former CEO Margaret Heffernan.

Ask the right questions: Imagine you have a huge campaign going on within your association. Your staff has come up with a grand plan but hasn’t considered the aftermath or other details that would make a difference to the campaign’s agenda. According to Kerry Stackpole, CAE, it’s up to you to ask your staff big-picture questions. “If you are a ‘big-picture’ leader, your greatest strength is not trying to retrofit your skills in execution, it is using your broad perspective to ask the right questions of your team,” he writes. “What’s important is asking the questions and thinking through the issues and the answers.”

What interesting reads have you found today? Let us know in your comments below.

Anita Ferrer

Anita Ferrer is a contributor to Associations Now. More »

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