Do you have a data mindset?

Jody Britten
5 min readSep 27, 2022

While speaking with a group of education stakeholders last week I was reminded that roughly 37% of jobs will necessitate some skill in data visualization in the next five years. It’s not by chance. Maybe we are finally making some headway in understanding that data is all around us, waiting to be used.

Once upon a time data had to be collected at every turn. You had to pause, develop, collect, analyze, and repeat. We had data that was collected in generalities about populations, services, etc.

We didn’t have access to data like we do today.

Though some could say that marketers have led the way in using data to inform their work, there is progress being made in using data to inform vision, mission, impact, scale, and more. But as I meet with leaders, founders, educators, and more I am seeing something that is important to name and dialogue about: Building your data mindset.

A lot of people talk about mindset, but few define what mindset encompasses. So, to be sure you know what I am talking about here, mindsets in their simplest form are defined as established beliefs held by individuals. Mindsets help us make sense of the world around us. But, be forewarned they might not be working in your favor. As Peter Fisk suggests, “We make our mindsets, and thereafter, our mindsets make us.” In looking at the idea of mindsets as a lever for success, there is a great deal of alignment between what our mindsets are and the behaviors, choices, practices, and approaches that we enact.

To put it simply, mindsets can “make you or break you” in terms of effectiveness and overall impact.

A data mindset is one that positions your decision-making to be informed by data rather than intuition, preference, or emotion. When we look at research on innovation, sustainability, and scale we see traces of data mindsets within successful organizations.

One of my favorite data mindset advantages is the nudge it gives us to serve our target markets more effectively by checking our biases.

Example. I was chatting with a nonprofit founder last week. They are concerned that they are having a limited (versus growth) mindset around the students they serve. They stated, “I am concerned that our program is not helping. That students are

Jody Britten

fierce mom, constant learner, writer, speaker, researcher, thinker, designer, gadget queen, advocate for learning that matters & public ed, lead with my actions