Friday, October 31, 2008

It's Just Your Imagination...

I make data-driven decisions, or at least most of the time. As an engineer, I love data. I love to collect it, analyze it, and tease useful information out of it. I like to present the data in compelling ways that allow my clients to make sound decisions. In my love for data, I often fail to see that perceptions are just as important as reality. In fact, none of us really knows what's real, only our perception of it. We make decisions based on our perception of reality, whether that perception is backed by verifiable science or not.

Why do I mention this today? Why should you care? I'm currently planning a project with a long-time client. This is a client that has done a wonderful job of meeting the challenges of being a manufacturer in the global economy -- a manufacturer that's very profitable and located in the US! I realized that some actions that are being taken are based more on perception than data.

So which is more important? Data or perception? They are both equally important as factors in making decisions. If you are attempting to improve a process or a system, you must be aware of the factors driving decisions, and you must always bear in mind the impact of the filter through which each of us views our reality.

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