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The Role of Data in an Empathetic Future

Text: The Role of Data in an Empathetic Future

COVID-19 radically changed the way individuals and organizations conduct business, engage their community, and think about population health. Coupled with cultural movements of public protest and vocal dissent, January 2021 is looking very different from where we were a year ago.

2020 was a radical, challenging, and – with a hopeful perspective – catalyzing year, shifting national attention onto health equity, social justice, and community like never before. 

At the beginning of a new year, full of possibilities, how can we take what we’ve learned and create meaningful and lasting change from 2021 and beyond? Who needs help and what can we – as individuals, companies, and social organizations – do? If we are to shift paradigms toward a more equal and consciously empathetic future, these are the questions we should be asking ourselves.

Having an analytical background, I believe in the power of data. Thoughtfully engaging population data as a powerful tool in our toolkit can help us to understand gaps in equity. By utilizing publicly-available population data and conducting surveys and other data-collection for the communities we serve, we can be better equipped to address those gaps.


Data can (and should) be human. 

It's easy to think about data as distant and unfeeling. But this picture does a disservice to the comprehensive power of data and people.

Data collection and analysis is the record and understanding of people and their behavior. Using these critical tools in our toolkit can enable us not just to understand, but to empathize, with the populations we serve. I like to call this the "multi-directional benefit of optimal empathy" — which also shows sustainable return. When we leverage data to better understand the makeup of our community, we can then begin to optimize experiences.

This pathway to better experiences is the true goal — it's the sweet spot of equilibrium where people, communities, and ideas are included in conjunction with profitable decision making.

This is the future.


Get curious about publicly-available population data. 

Data is being collected all the time. The question then becomes, what can you do with that data?

The census is one of the best examples of publicly-available data. The decennial census collects household data to allocate resources and provide representation. This data is a critical tool that organizations can (and should) access and leverage. As a supplementary asset to the semi-holistic decennial census, the Census Bureau conducts smaller data collection efforts and extrapolates to the entire country. This is an opportunity for individuals, companies, and/or organizations to better understand the communities in which they serve and operate. LEP.gov provides easily digestible data and insights to enable organizations to provide equal access to the U.S.'s limited-English speaking population. Using the aforementioned tools alongside the American Community Service (ACS), anyone is able to determine opportunities for inclusion within their community.


Gather your own data — it's easier than you think. 

The census’ work is not the only way to leverage data to help conduct inclusive decision making. There are many analytics tools and strategies at our fingertips. These methods can range from minimal effort projects to more meticulous on-going initiatives. For example, sending email blasted surveys geared to answer questions like:

  • Are there sufficient resources for LEPs in our operations today?
  • What are the preferred languages of our existing customer base?

To full throttled web analytics:

  • What communities and demographics are driving traffic and conversions to our website?
  • Does this traffic mirror the demographics in our community?
  • Are conversion rates equal amongst different demographics?

If these questions (or endless similar variants) result in disconnect, then there likely is valid opportunity for inclusion.

The initial research is not the end of inclusive decision making; it is just the beginning. Acting on opportunities is how we implement change. Seeing accurate correlations, trends, gaps, or other indicators permit better-informed perspective.


More data, more opportunities for empathy. 

Adopting solutions that bolster inclusivity unlock the potential of gaining untapped and growing market share of individuals that otherwise may not have the opportunity to engage due to language barriers. 

I'm a firm believer in the power duo of data and empathy. At GLOBO, we're on a mission to increase language access.

Through data we can shed light on usage, services, financials, populations, and more. Whether through customized intake to better segment high-volume usage of particular services or dashboard development to drive insights of real-time languages serviced, data can be used to bridge gaps, all in service of a more empathetic future.


Interested in the journey toward a more empathetic future?

Get in touch to learn how. 

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