Technology has seen a big leap in the past decade. We are all connected, day and night,
via our smartphones. We can talk to anyone, make purchases, and find answers to our
questions whenever we want, wherever we want.
We’ve quickly grown accustomed to having answers at our fingertips, and we’re
increasingly expecting the same at our workplace. Part of our expectation comes from
our innate curiosity. When we encounter something new, we want—and need—to know
more. Knowledge is rewarding because it “dispels undesirable states of ignorance and
uncertainty,” says researcher Jonathan Litman. It freaks us out when we can’t figure
something out. We want to know why something happened so that we can avoid—
or repeat—the same outcome in the future.
This doesn’t mean we simply want the final answer or outcome; we want to be a part
of the discovery process. The driver of our curiosity is a need for understanding—
the what, the why, the how, the what-for. And answers alone don’t help us understand
as much as the discovery process leading up to the answers. Together, they provide a
complete understanding with which we can avoid the bad, replicate the good, and find
As we try to gain understanding and find those answers, we have data to help. More and
more data is being captured—in our personal lives and also within our organizations.
This data gives us the facts, the truth, the objective view of what has happened. Data
is knowledge, and when people are empowered to explore and ask questions using
their data to make everyday decisions, they can find the understanding, insights, and
opportunities they seek.