Decision makers use it to change the current distribution of the resources on hand.
Yahoo’s new CEO Marissa Mayer wrote 9 Principles of Innovation, naming ‘Data Is Apolitical’ as one of them.
“Some companies think of design as an art. We think of design as a science. It doesn’t matter who is the favorite or how much you like this aesthetic versus that aesthetic. It all comes down to data.”–Mayer
The “We” she mentions cannot be the same hypothetical “We” that most organizations have–as in “we believe we are only truly innovative ____ today.” She means the key decision makers who set the organizational culture.
Important to leading with data is avoiding using “vanity metrics” to drive decisions.
“Numbers that give the illusion of progress but often mask the true relationship between cause and effect.”–source
The first step in leveraging data is to find a current project that is being driven by political opinions, conduct research to determine the amount of resources being invested into the project, as well as it’s current outcomes. Demonstrating the ability to improve results and help those involved with this project achieve outcomes that they want is more important than convincing them of the idea of using data.
To read more about Vanity Metrics I would recommend Eric Ries’ post Why Vanity Metrics Are Dangerous.