Through extensive observation we have identified a number of generic data behaviours people exhibit when they interact with data which we illustrate in a concept we call "The Data Zoo".

These different data behaviours are illustrated in the diagram below using the three axes of Compliance, Impact and Strategic Awareness.

  • Compliance - how well an individual complies with written (and unwritten) standards for data activities
  • Impact - the energy and enthusiasm shown towards data activities
  • Strategic Awareness - how well an individual understands the overall strategic position and objectives of their organisation

Some of the key data behaviours in The Data Zoo are:

Data Zoo charaters

  • Whinger - The Whinger would rather complain that the new system is not as good as the old one, that current organisational approaches are wrong etc. rather than undertake data tasks
  • Jobsworth - The Jobsworth will use any ambiguity or lack of clarity in standards and processes as a reason for not undertaking tasks
  • Data Squirrel - The Data Squirrel will have hoards of data (both paper and electronic), which do not exist in corporate systems, and are often liked by their colleagues as they are often able to answer tricky questions
  • Data Anarchist - The Data Anarchist puts a lot of energy into data activities, however, this will typically be to create their own systems using spreadsheet or personal database software, but they are unlikely to keep corporate systems up to date
  • Data Evangelist - The Data Evangelist is a valuable ally, they understand the power of data to an organisation and devote energy and time to convince others that good data practices are in their long term interests

The data behaviours employees tend to exhibit will be influenced by both the team that they are in and by organisational factors - an over bureaucratic process to obtain IT assistance will encourage Data Anarchists.

For a webcast presentation of the Data Zoo and more information on The Data Zoo and the training courses we provide to recognise and improve data behaviours, please see the Downloads section at the right of this page.