Earlier this year, I met the President and the CIO from Coppin State University at a national CIO conference. The few minutes that I talked with these two positive leaders was incredibly valuable, illuminating, and hopeful.
Maria Thompson became the president of Coppin State two years ago. She had the vision that Coppin State would be a learning organization and that their decisions would be data driven. Under her direction and in partnership with the CIO, every single employee now has access to the most current data on a campus dashboard that shows five years of student success data.
Her leadership team looks at the data in every meeting and makes decisions based on the latest information. The same dashboard that the leadership team looks at is available to every employee from professors to janitors. This allows distributed decision making that is based on the same set of of information.
Ahmed M. El-Haggan, the CIO, provides training across campus that is focused on what the data means so that people can use it to make good decisions. His team purposefully selected a very user-friendly tool so that the technology was not a barrier to using the data.
This democratization of data is helping individual students.
Professors can see whether their students are enrolled and reach out to individuals who may be at risk. This is happening dynamically because the information is easily available. Before the data was democratized, if a professor wanted to get this type of information, a formal request needed to be made with several security signoffs that took weeks.
This effort has helped shift the culture across the campus to one that promotes empowerment, shared leadership, and deep learning. The president said that her job is a lot more fun now that the data is democratized.
I loved this story because it is such a concrete example of the power of transparency, trust, and training in creating a positive culture. So this week, think about how you can democratize data to shift the conversation and culture in your organization.