(US and Canada) Nollie Maoto, Executive Head: Business Intelligence, Analytics, Planning and Monitoring, FNB South Africa, speaks with Randy Bean, Founder/CEO of NewVantage Partners, about his book, “Fail Fast, Learn Faster: Lessons in Data-Driven Leadership in an Age of Disruption, Big Data and AI,” and how organizations need to act fast to learn fast.
Bean’s book is based on perspectives he gleaned from his 30-plus years in business. Against the backdrop of COVID, he writes, “We need data science, facts, knowledge, and insight to make informed, wise, and critical decisions. Now more than ever, our data matters and having the data matters tremendously.”
He separates the intended audience for his book into four cohorts. First, the data professionals and people that work within large organizations to help them in their efforts to become data-driven. Second, the business leaders who need to understand and appreciate the value and the benefit of data. Third, the students who will be the next generations of data professionals. And fourth, the general audience — people trying to understand why they need to care about data and why it is important in their day-to-day lives.
As for the idea behind the title, Bean cites Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett, who said, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Individuals and organizations learn from experience, Bean notes, and experience typically entails trial and error. And one of the ways data and big data have helped fuel rapid innovation is through faster iterative learning. So, it's this notion of learning and taking action, and learning from that experience.
For organizations to become data-driven, he says, it’s important to pay attention to the validity of the data because the world has become more decentralized. Organizations have to take the responsibility for the data they create. “People can now pick and choose what news to follow on social media. As a consequence, it means that people are being much more selective or it's been put upon them, in terms of the data that they see. So, the more that we can adhere to good data and sound science and sound facts, the healthier our society and business will be.”
Leaders and organizations have to act and fail fast because, Bean says, organizations that don't act, don't learn fast and run the risk of not being in a stronger competitive position. They think that things need to be perfect before they take action. They assume that they don't have to act with urgency because they have been in business for a long time.
To act and fail fast “lends itself very well to the notion of testing or iterative learning, and agile development, where organizations can move quickly to produce results faster,” he concludes.