Unpicking Diversity myopia: not seeing is not understanding, and not valuing differences

I’m excited about my Diversity meetup at Microsoft Ignite, and I wanted to share some thoughts about it in advance.

The term or word prejudice comes from the Latin prae + judicium meaning to try in advance. Prejudice is literally a pre-judgement about the characteristics and desirability of a person or a thing. Everyone has their heuristics about how the world works, but this can be dangerous when it slips into prejudices, and often we cannot see what these prejudices are.

I have been puzzling over the statement that I hear sometimes: I’m already diverse, I don’t need to worry about diversity because I never judge people on their race, gender or beliefs. I don’t think that’s true, and I think people can have a diversity myopia, which means that they believe that they place themselves beyond seeing differences in people, as if that makes them more logical somehow. My argument instead is that, by seeing, valuing and understanding differences, it gives us another superpower or another lens by which to understand situations, people, and ourselves. This is the true mark of a leader and it would make us better leaders to be able to see, understand and value diversity. However, we can’t hold the view consistently that we ‘don’t see differences’ and then claim to be already sensitive to diversity. If you don’t see, understand or value differences, then you can’t be sensitive to diversity, either.

Leaders who understand diversity, prejudice and the dynamics of change, will manage them better in themselves and in other people. We all experience work situations where our professional requirements, demands and responsibilities conflict with our ethics and values. The resolution of these situations require skills that are not part of any job descriptions: they require real thought. These are opportunities for reflexive leadership: self-reflection and deep thought, which is quite at odds with the way that we normally skate on the surface of our busy lives (Alvesson, Blom, and Sveningsson, 2016).

Diversity Myopia can be evidenced by the statement: “I see everyone purely in terms of merit and I don’t see their characteristics.”

To succeed, leaders need to be skilful in recognizing and managing diversity, as well as valuing it. Davidson (2011) puts forward this concept of leveraging differences to help us to navigate the complexities of diversity. Leveraging Differences is the ability to use people’s distinctiveness, uniqueness, competencies and perspectives in order to make the organization more effective. How can we leverage differences?

fantasy-2824304_1920

Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/users/kellepics-4893063/ 

Seeing the Differences

Firstly, we have to see the difference. One of the signs of diversity myopia is the claim that one does not see differences. If you cannot see differences, how can you be sensitive to them? Some of the differences are obvious, such as language, sex or ethnicity. Other ways, such as specific disabilities which are not obvious, are not easy to see.

Understanding the Differences

It’s important to understand the differences in order to leverage them successfully, and to make people comfortable as part of your team. We can do this in all sorts of ways: for example, I have spent this weekend reading about religions with a focus on Islam and Zoroastrianism (Mazdayasna) in order to try and educate myself, and understand them better. I am not claiming to be an expert in either religion, but I learned a lot that I did not know before.

If we do not try to understand differences, then we are working on prejudices and over-simplified stereotypes. This means that we can be working under a confirmation bias, so self-awareness never impinges on our consciousness to hint that we are anything other than ‘diverse-aware’.

forward-3277752_1920

Valuing Differences

Understanding diversity can be transformative, and it results from an active and sustained seeing, understanding and respecting differences. There is no way that we can tick a box and state that we are ‘diverse-aware’ now. It is an ongoing process, and it is a long-term relationship which changes your life.

Priorities can change because you understand people’s priorities better. It means that you can start to care more deeply about other issues that others care about; the environment, for example. For me personally, it has given me a wider vision of the world that I live in, and it means that I have become a lot calmer about transient problems that I might otherwise have been. It also means that I can step away from people and problems that are simply toxic, because I have found other things to care about, and to spend my energy on. The thing with diversity is that it is amost addictive; it gives me more to care about, and I want to know more, so I learn more and that gives me more, bigger things to care about.

This is the personal changes that this has brought for me. What can you do in order to learn more about Diversity?

  • Be curious and learn
  • Be an active listener
  • Be prepared to have the humility and self-awareness to get things wrong
  • Be prepared to work at conflicts that matter, and to see them through, even if it challenges your core beliefs.
  • Be prepared to think that what other people have said is true.

Rethink the data outside of a confirmation bias. I think that this is missing from a lot of the dialogue that I see on Twitter, for example. Genuine grievances, such as the MeToo campaign, can be dismissed under the guise ‘that doesn’t happen everywhere’ or even disbelief disguised as a statement ‘if a woman really had been attacked, then she would not do this / go there / do that, would she?’ Inquiry and thoughtfulness can help us to be more open and understanding in communication.

What does diversity myopia mean for the business?

For the business, diversity can help us to understand our business processes and systems. It can help businesses to remain innovative and engaged with customers and team members, because the veil of having diversity-myopia has been lifted.

Seeing, understanding and valuing differences is challenging, but it can help us to move in directions that we didn’t see before.

I am learning a lot, and I will continue to do so for the rest of my life. I look forward to your thoughts and comments.

References

Alvesson, M., Blom, M. and Sveningsson, S., 2016. Reflexive Leadership: Organising in an imperfect world. Sage.

Davidson, M.N., 2011. The end of diversity as we know it: Why diversity efforts fail and how leveraging difference can succeed. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.

Why is it so difficult to report harassment, and what can you do to help?

This is a personal blog and it is from the heart. This incident is separate from the MeToo incident that I wrote about previously.

When I was 24, I moved to Aberdeen, in Scotland, to start a new postgraduate degree in Artificial Intelligence. On my last night in my home town before I left to go to Aberdeen, I celebrated with childhood friends in a local restaurant, which had a little dance floor and a bar. In the bar, I met an ex-boyfriend, and I ignored him. He tried to speak with me, and I told him to leave me alone.

I went up to dance with my friend, and my ex-boyfriend followed me and continued to hassle me. His first punch came from nowhere and I only remember being hit directly in the face, and everything going red, and falling backwards. I don’t remember anything after that punch. I only remember, vaguely, my friend Christine screaming and screaming and screaming and I could only hear her, and everything was red. I remember idly wondering why she was screaming but then I lost consciousness. I only woke up the next day in bed, covered in scratches and bruises and I felt like I had bad whiplash.

After the punch that took me to the floor, he hauled me up by one arm and was punching me with the other. Then, I was kicked about on the dancefloor, unconscious. My ex-boyfriend was pulled off me and he went to the bar. I was taken home by my friend in a taxi. I don’t remember any of it. I wasn’t drinking much because I am not a heavy drinker; it was the initial punch that took me out. I weigh about 100 pounds and I’m not quite five foot two. It was no contest, really.

After that, the bar/restaurant went back to normal; people eating, drinking. I have no awareness of the events after my attack. All I do know is that my ex was told to leave the bar, and some men in the bar followed my ex-boyfriend outside. They beat him unconscious in an act of revenge, which I did not instigate. I do not approve and there is no joy in it for me.

The next day, I decided I would go to the police, after going to the hospital. As I learned about the events afterwards, I began to understand that I could not go to the police. I didn’t want the very well-meaning men to get into any trouble; their attack on him had been down to his attack on me. So, I felt responsible, even though I was not there.

His mother called me to see if I was ok. She told me that she’d raised a monster, and that I should stay away from him. And I did; I never saw him again. I started my postgraduate degree with my body covered in the vestiges of his attack on me. He used to wear a ring and I had scratches from where it landed on my body, with the weight of his fist behind it.

I am writing about it now because, all these years later, I regret not going to the Police and reporting it. I had so many witnesses, and I should not have felt responsible for the actions of the well-meaning men who wreaked revenge on him. But I did. I think that victims can feel that all problems end with them, and that they are the only ones who can fix things even though they are the victim. That’s why you end up absorbing so much.

I never felt any victory that he’d got beaten up. I don’t think he learned anything at all. I learned a few years later that he’d attacked his then-current girlfriend, a woman I vaguely knew. I felt responsible for her.

I don’t think that those well-meaning men should have beaten him up. This deprived me of control of the situation. Revenge was not theirs to give; it was mine to take, going through the courts and speaking to the Police. It is the best way to secure long-term sanctions on their behaviour. I understand that they thought they were doing the right thing. I did not hear about their revenge attack until the next day, and I was aghast. I understand that they felt that they had to do something.

My choice? For me, honestly, being a witness, and making my voice louder, would have been the right thing to do in the longer-term. By taking action in place of me, they essentially took my control, my choices and my voice away from me; my experience, my suffering, went unheard. I was not being allowed to drive the situation, and that’s what I wanted. I wasn’t consulted. I don’t believe women are weak fools at all and I don’t need people to speak for me. I just need my voice to be helped to carry, and, by ‘speaking’ for me, they were taking away from me the very things that would secure the most likely outcome for ensuring that he did not do it again.

Women need to be heard and believed. We don’t need talked for, talked at, or talked over. When we talk about #MeToo incidents, often you will hear women say that they feel better after speaking out. They don’t say that they feel better because someone else did something or spoke for them; they want control back. Loss of control means no options, and not having options is a terrible way to live your life.

By going to the Police and trying to secure a conviction against him, I could have helped to make sure that he would have had a record, which would have warned off future victims. And I was wrong not to see that. In the later incident, the one I wrote about in the MeToo blog, I was very well aware that other women would suffer in the same way I did, so I did my best to make sure it was stopped before it started. That made me feel responsible, and I have paid the price of the highest level of guilt since since I was not successful in the process. Victim blaming can often include the victim themselves, and we do not need told what to do. The world will make you feel small, if you let it.

After the separate #MeToo incident, I was given some medical counselling. Due to a shortage, during the counselling process, I was paired with a male counsellor and I am going to call him Edward. Edward taught me many things. He taught me that your friends are not the ones who spend time with you or who even like you. Edward helped me to see that I had choices, even though I felt that my choices were taken away from me. Edward helped me to feel as if I had control back, even though the control of everything, even that of my own body, had been slipping away from me. In doing these things, Edward helped me to get my voice back.

I never got to thank Edward. One day, I called to speak to him, and I was told that he’d fallen ill, and he wasn’t coming back. I never called again. One of my regrets in life is that I never got to thank him and I hope that he found someone in his life as precious and supportive of him, as he was to me. There are good people there and they flit in and out of our lives, leaving a thread of love that you can see if you are looking for it.

Inspired by Edward, who strove to ‘to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world’, I am going to put forward a list of what you can do to help. This is based on a few sources, but mainly Rape Crisis Scotland should be credited here.

Do:

  • Listen. Good or ‘active’ listening means you help the victim develop their own
    thoughts so they can look at options and make their own decisions. It’s not up to you.
  • Stay calm.
  • Be comfortable with silence.
  • Encourage
  • Take notes
  • Ensure safety
  • Read this list from RAINN in case an incident has happened
  • Listen. Keep the cakehole shut.
  • Accept and don’t judge
  • Be patient.
  • Take the lead from the victim– it is important for them to feel in control
  • Avoid asking intrusive questions.
  • Learn about sexual violence and its effects
  • Learn about ways of coping with these effects
  • Ask them what they need from you
  • Look after yourself too
  • If you think what you’re going to say sounds thoughtless, it probably is. So shut up.

Don’t:

  • Judge
  • Instruct
  • Decide for the victim
  • Feel responsible
  • Ask loaded questions, opinions and comments such as ‘you could have done such and such couldn’t you?’ or ‘you must be feeling terrible?’
  • Use ‘should’ or ‘if I were you’. If you are going to do tell me what to do, just go away. You are not helping.

I’m going to end, as I sometimes do, with a poem.

“Even in our sleep,

pain which cannot forget,
falls drop by drop upon the heart until,

in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom

through the awful grace of God.” – Aeschylus

Fixing ‘Could not create Directory’ in Azure WordPress installation of Elementor Pro

I have ported my Data Relish company website over to Azure. It isn’t finished yet, and I’m making the final touches. I’m using WordPress on Azure and it’s been good experience in understanding how the moving parts of Azure, Office 365 and WordPress all hang together.

In trying to update Elementor Pro, I got the following error message:

An error occurred while updating Elementor Pro: Could not create directory. elementor-pro/modules/assets-manager/asset-types/fonts

After some digging around, it turns out that this is due to the length of the directory name. The long filename was causing an issue, and sub-directories increased the length of the filename so they simply could not get created.

In order to sort the issue, you have to use the Windows Compatibility Fix

Once the Fix is applied, it’s possible to create directories, and the upgrade to the latest edition of Elementor Pro should proceed as expected.

I hope that helps you to fly farther with WordPress!

Motivating Teams and Individuals: Reward Systems

What is motivation? Willingness to exert high levels of effort toward organizational goals, conditioned by the effort’s ability to satisfy some individual need or desire (Robbins, p.168). Motivation is studied in terms of how it refers to other things, such as needs, drives, goals, incentives of disincentives. (McKenna, E., 1996).

Work motivation can be described as a willingness to apply one’s efforts towards the achievement of the organisation’s goals, while concurrently an individual need is satisfied.​

What is the main interest of managers in motivation?​ Managers and Leaders need to work on motivation in order to achieve objectives for the organisation and the team​. The  aim should be to change employees’ motivations from what they are, to what the manager wants them to be (Purcell et al, 2003)​

Therefore, it is related to performance. Performance is behaviour​ because you are doing something. Concepts of performance involve ‘levels’ of performance and ‘quality’ of performance​, which means that performance is linked to measurement​. Therefore, motivation is key to achieving good performance.

The key theories of motivation involve

  • content theories – the ‘what’ of motivation – This is based on Outcome and Reward
  • process or Cognitive theories – the ‘how’ of motivation – cognitive processes used to connect effort with outcome or reward)

The ‘internal forces that impel action and the external forces that can act as inducements to action’ ​ (Locke and Latham, 1979)​.  There are three main aspects of action:​

  • direction of choice
  • levels of effort or intensity
  • duration or persistence

​Latham and Locke (1979), cited in McKenna (2000), distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is derived from expectation of receiving extrinsic or tangible reward (e.g. promotion or pension).​ Intrinsic motivation is derived from expectation of receiving intrinsic or ‘psychological’ reward (e.g. recognition, respect or an Award).

Content Theories

Content theories can be listed below:

  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs​
  • Alderfer’s ERG hierarchy – ERG (existence-relatedness-growth)​
  • Herzberg’s two factor theory​
  • McClelland’s achievement motivation theory​
  • Hackman and Oldman’s job characteristics model.​

These theories mostly adopt a universal approach, and they assume all people possess a common set of needs. They assume that people have a bucket of motivations that await gratification, and this is used to explain why people choose to act in one way and not another.

Content Theories are described next:

Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs is probably the most well-known, and the theory probably stops there for a lot of people. However, it was later refined by other content authors, and then the emphasis turned to more cognitive theories.

heirarchyofneeds

Credit: Penn State Leadership https://sites.psu.edu/leadership/2014/11/29/prepare-for-success-path-goal-theory-and-maslows-needs-hierarchy/ 

 Alderfer’s ERG theory summarizes these needs into three related needs:​

  • existence needs​
  • relatedness needs​
  • growth needs.​

More than one need can be activated at any one time, and we can regress back to a lower need if a higher need is not met. This is known as the ‘frustration regression’ process.

McClelland’s Achievement Needs Theory (1961) perceives motivation as being influenced by three trait-like needs: achievement, power, affiliation and belonging. Traits are based on experience and can be developed and honed, for example, through training or positive reinforcement through hierarchical positioning.

2318744_635513412058845000-1

Herzberg (1996) is consistent with the earlier theories of Maslow, and, at its simplest, states that people are motivated towards things that make them feel good, and away from things that make them feel bad. There is plenty of empirical evidence to support this idea; if you consider going to the gym at 6am as an example, how does that make you feel? Most people will stay in bed because it makes them feel good. Herzberg applies this idea to the workplace.

two-factor-theory-herzberg-toolshero

Credit: https://www.toolshero.com/psychology/theories-of-motivation/two-factor-theory-herzberg/ 

Cognitive Theories

Cognitive Theories, or Process theories, view humans as actors who want to produce an impact and an effect on their environment, and that humans are fundamentally life-long learners who want to learn skills and new things. We have a need for new information, data and wisdom. Certainly, in my experience, no customer ever has ever said ‘We have enough reports and data now’. We always want to pitch forward with our data.

In this view, humans are essentially purposeful and individua. We understand our risks, and we make plans and set a course. These cognitive or process theories acknowledge choice, and discuss how behaviour is initiated, directed and re-directed, and terminated altogether.

The key theories include:

  • expectancy theory​
  • goal-setting theory​
  • equity theory.​

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory  postulates that individuals will behave or act in a certain way because they are motivated to select a specific behaviour over other behaviours. The choice depends on their expectations on what they perceived the outcome of the behaviour to produce.

f0070_01

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory

F (Motivation) = V x I x E

V = Valence or value an individual places on  the reward. ​

I = Instrumentality or the extent to which the individual believes carrying out an action will lead to positive reward/outcome. ​

E = Expectancy or the perception that a behaviour/effort will lead to desired level of performance.

Locke’s Goal Setting Theory (1968) may be something that you use a lot. Have you seen SMART objectives? They arise from Locke’s theory. Goals must be:​

  • specific and challenging​
  • capable of objective measurement​
  • attainable and time bound​
  • owned and accepted by employees.​
  • Prompt, precise feedback required so people know how they are doing​

Equity Theory (Adams, 1965) postulates that employees consider the inputs they bring to the work in relation to the outputs. It is a balance between inputs and perceived rewards they gain as a result of their inputs.  ​It is particularly important for performance appraisal and reward, since a perception of unfair or unjust treatment will be demotivating.

Does money motivate?

It is implied as a motivator in content theories e.g. Taylorism, Maslow, Locke  etc and therefore is implied as a motivator.​ Barber and Bretz (2000) suggest that money is among the most important factors for people when deciding on a job.​ Anecdotal evidence from exit interviews shows that money is the key reason why demotivated employees leave the job or they leave to earn more elsewhere.

Some theorists argue against the idea that it is a main motivator, such as eming, Herzberg, Kohn, Deci and Ryan, Pfeffer​. The theme here is that a job gives people meaning, purpose, commitment and engagement. Job satisfaction is also considered to be a primary motivator.

Some research shows that money can reduce the effectiveness of intrinsic engagement. For example, Deci et al (2001) found that “rewards as a motivational strategy is a risky proposition”.

A reasonable conclusion is that money is a motivator for some and most will not work without pay, but it depends on individual circumstances and other factors.​ “The question of whether money is a motivator that can lead to improved performance is a very complex one and the answer is by no means clear” (Latham 2007).

Here, we can combine expectancy and equity, by perceiving it as a vicious cycle for some individuals. The individual might be motivated to increase inputs, in the hope of getting increased rewards or outputs. People who are underpaid can see their role in terms of cost rather than value, thereby decreasing overall performance of the team because the competition within the team has been increased. If the value of the role is perceived as equitable to the cost, or amount of pay or reward, then the perception of fairness and balance is met.

Position and reward distribution need to be met fairly, or one team may not feel valued. If the reward distribution is perceived as being concentrated at C level at the expense of others, this can result in a perception of unfairness. There have been plenty of stories recently about overpaid C-suite members!

The reward mix is also important. The gender pay gap is well documented, and the finding is replicated across the world (Costa Dias, Joyce, and Parodi, F., 2018).

Conclusion

The reality is that motivation is a difficult and complex topic and there is the element of choice. That said, understanding people’s motivations can impact performance so there is a real need to understand this complex topic, in order to demystify people’s choices and make possible predictions and outcomes on their behaviour.

References

Adams, J. Stacy. “Inequity in social exchange.” In Advances in experimental social psychology, vol. 2, pp. 267-299. Academic Press, 1965.

Alderfer, C.P., 1969. An empirical test of a new theory of human needs. Organizational behavior and human performance4(2), pp.142-175.

Barber, A.E. and Bretz, R.D., 2000. Compensation, attraction, and retention. Compensation in organizations, pp.32-60.

Costa Dias, M., Joyce, R. and Parodi, F., 2018. The gender pay gap in the UK: children and experience in work. Institute for Fiscal Studies. https://www. ifs. org. uk/publications/10356.

Latham, G.P. 2007. Work motivation: History, theory, research, and practice ISBN 0 7619 2017 X; 337 pages. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Locke, E.A., 1968. Toward a theory of task motivation and incentives. Organizational behavior and human performance3(2), pp.157-189.

Maslow, A.H., 1943. A theory of human motivation. Psychological review50(4), p.370.

McKenna, E.F., 2000. Business psychology and organisational behaviour: a student’s handbook. Psychology Press.

Vroom, V.H. and Yetton, P.W., 1973. Leadership and decision-making (Vol. 110). University of Pittsburgh Pre.

 

 

 

 

I’m speaking at #ITDevConnections 2018!

ITDev Connections Side Banner

I’m speaking at #ITDevConnections 2018! Join me in Dallas and learn on topics such as:

  • Blockchain Demystified for Business Intelligence Professionals
  • Data Analytics with Azure Cosmos Schema-less Data and Power BI
  • R in Power BI for Absolute Beginners

There is also a Women in Technology lunch and I’m excited about that, too!

Join me in Dallas this October!

I’m excited to see that some of my SQLFamily friends are going, such as Mindy Curnett, Kevin Kline, Bob Ward and Tim Mitchell. I’m looking forward to going to sessions as an attendee, too!

You can find the agenda here.

SPECIAL OFFER:Use promo code STIRRUP by September 7 and save on your pass!*

  • All Access Pass – $1899 with code STIRRUP (a $2699 value)
    Includes Pre-Conference workshop plus 200+ sessions and networking
  • Essentials Pass – $1199 with code STIRRUP (a $1799 value)
    Includes 200+ sessions and networking

All Access Pass – $1899 with promo code STIRRUP (a $2699 value) 

Includes everything listed in the Essentials Pass, PLUS you gain access to one Pre-Conference Workshop, where you’ll spend a full day in the classroom with our experts.

Choose from 8 workshops:

  1. Migrating to Windows 10 – Notes From the Field
  2. Mastering ASP.NET Core, Angular 6 and EF Core
  3. From Beginning to Expert SQL Programmer in One Day
  4. Progressive Web Apps From Beginner to Expert
  5. ConfigMgr and Azure – A Flexible, Powerful and Compelling Combination
  6. Practical Performance Monitoring
  7. Build Intelligent Applications with A.I. Technologies
  8. Going Serverless Using Azure

Essentials Pass – $1199 with promo code STIRRUP (a $1799 value)

Includes:

  • Mix and Match 150+ Tracks/Sessions
  • Access to Session Presentation Materials
  • Vendor Receptions
  • Networking Events
  • Breakfast and Coffee Breaks
  • Networking Luncheon
  • Conference Registration Giveaway
  • and more!

*Prices increase after September 7, 2018. Must use code to receive discount. Non-transferable. Cannot be applied to previously paid registrations.

Fun DataDive with DataKind UK

This weekend, I volunteered with DataKind UK on their Summer DataDive, which took place on the weekend of 28th and 29th July 2018 in the Pivotal London offices in Shoreditch. I had a fantastic, memorable weekend, mixing with around 200 other data scientists.

I’d like to thank the DataKind team for being so inspirational, giving, and kind with their time and skills. I’d like to emphasise my absolute admiration for the Data Ambassadors and the work that they do to lift everyone up.

Why did I do this? DataKind appealed to me since it meant that I could sharpen my data science skills  by pitching in with experts. New learners to Data Science are welcome, and there were also newbies who had some experience of data and wanted to know more. There was room for everyone to contribute, so if you are a newbie, it would be a great way to join in the conversations and learn from experts who love what they can achieve with data. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to mix with real data scientists. This isn’t Poundland data science, and this is not pseudo Data Science. This is the real thing; and I spent two days immersed in real problems using Data Science as a solution. I learned a lot, and I contributed as well. There is a saying that you are the average of your friends, and I needed to get close to more Data Scientists so that I could build on my earlier experience on AI and bring it up-to-date.

I wanted to help a charity, by dedicating my time and skills, to support women and girls who need it. I understand that there are vulnerable men too; but this isn’t about whataboutism. Women and girls are disproportionally affected by issues such as domestic violence and being the victims of sexual crimes, and I wanted to do something practical to help.

Lancashire Women's Centres LogoFor my specific contribution, I was working with a team of 25 other data scientists, we worked on finding insights in data belonging to Lancashire Women’s Centre. The vision of Lancashire Women’s Centre is that all women and girls in Lancashire are valued and treated as equals. Their aim is to empower women and girls to be able to transform their lives by bringing them together to find their voice, share experiences and understanding, develop their knowledge and skills, challenge stereotypes and misconceptions about them so that they can have choices in becoming the individuals they want to be. I share this conviction deeply and I wanted to help.

You may well be thinking that the charity help a small number of women, but that’s not the case at all. They have a real impact in their community. The Lancashire Women’s Centre has helped over 3000 women in the last year. This includes 5807 hours of therapeutic support were accessed by 1154 women and 78 men.  Following therapy: 25% were no longer taking medication, 8% felt the support had helped them find and keep a job, 12% continued to access LWC services to support their recovery.

So what did I do? I can’t share specific details because the data is confidential, and it obviously impacts some of the UK’s most vulnerable women and girls. I will say that the tools used were CoCalc, R, Python, Excel and Tableau and Power BI to work with the data.

DataKind™ brings high-impact organizations dedicated to solving the world’s biggest challenges together with leading data scientists to improve the quality of, access to and understanding of data in the social sector. This leads to better decision-making and greater social impact. Launched in 2011, DataKind leads a community of passionate data scientists, visionary partners and mission-driven organizations with the talent, commitment and energy to use data science in the service of humanity. DataKind is headquartered in New York City and has Chapters in Bangalore, Dublin, San Francisco, Singapore, the UK and Washington DC. More information on DataKind, our programs and our partners can be found on their website: www.datakind.org

Lancashire Women’s Centre

DataKind JenStirrup and Team

I’m the one on the right, wearing orange!

I’m looking forward to the next one!

Tableau Prep, Power Query and Power BI – Good together?

A question I often here is this: Which tool should I use, Tableau or Power BI? The truth is: They are not mutually exclusive.

Tableau is great at business mysteries: ill-defined questions where you have to surf the data for results. Power BI is particularly great at modelling and cleaning the data, with clean, crisp data visualisation and the ability to use custom and open-source data visualizations. This blog isn’t aimed at the technical user, but at the analyst who needs to get information out quickly. I will do another post, aimed at the geeks, another time.

Tableau and Power BI are paintbrushes for your data. The tools do not have to be mutually exclusive. Power BI contains some superb data preparation functions which are aimed at business users. Speaking to customers, however, it’s clear that they aren’t aware of its functionalities. So, I decided to make your life easier for you by helping you to compare the two, using the same data with the same result.

In the first video, we will look at Tableau Prep in some detail. We will use one of the Tableau datasets, Superstore, and we will work through one of Tableau’s own tutorials.
In the next segment, I repeat the exercise using Power BI and Power Query so that you can compare more easily. Ultimately, both tools achieve the same ends.

Where Tableau Prep falls down, in my opinion, is that Tableau Prep does not handle complex pivots very well. In the World Data Bank data, the Life Expectancy data which was made famous by Hans Rosling is available, and this data needs pivoted in order to be visualized effectively. Tableau needs a lot of branching pivots to get it to work. Power BI, on the other hand, pivots it within a few clicks. What do we take away from this?

  • Tableau Prep is great for simple data preparation tasks
  • Power Query, also known as Get and Transform in Excel, is great at simple and much more complex and difficult data preparation tasks.

So, which tool you use will depend on the data prep that you need to do. If it is easy, use Tableau Prep. If it is anything above easy, or includes easy, use Power Query.

You can use Power BI to shape the data, and then use the data in Tableau. See? You don’t have to choose. Select the best paintbrush for what you need to do, and you are not restricted to one paintbrush.

To see the videos, go here:

Tableau Prep: An Overview

 

Power Query and Power BI Together for Tableau Users: