Data Conversations

What should we talk about when we talk about data?

The process of bringing data to bear on managers' problems is fraught with difficulties. Managers are often unaware of what data might be helpful. Analysts are often unaware of what the problems even are. The result is that data is not used enough: decisions are often made without the evidence, even when the evidence was there, if only we'd known where to look for it.

Skills to identify what data to look at (infradata); skills to interpret and evaluate data (ultradata)

Data Conversations is a one-day workshop that brings managers, clinicians and information analysts into the same room to develop a shared view of how decisions are made in the NHS and to understand how to get data embedded into the decision-making process.


Session 1 / Decision-making scenarios
The first session of the course introduces the Infosynthesis model. Using pre-prepared case study examples along with examples from the participants' own work experience, we discuss what data looks like in different decision-making scenarios and what the process consists of if we want to be serious about basing our decisions on evidence in the form of data.

Session 2 / InfraData
The second session introduces the things we need to talk about when we are understanding the problem, translating difficult—often messy and troublesome—issues into harder-edged questions, which can then be shaped—using another set of techniques—into queries. This is the area (we call it InfraData) that is often neglected. All too often we assume that information analysts understand the nature and dimensions of the managers' issues, when in actual fact there is a conversation-driven process that has to be initiated for that understanding to emerge.

Session 3 / UltraData
The third session of the workshop deals with the things that need to be discussed once the data has been analysed. Tables and charts—no matter how well-designed they are—are not the end of the process; the data has to be interpreted and evaluated beofe a decision can be made, and both managers and analysts need to be aware of the dialogue and conversation steps involved in this stage of the process.

Session 4 / Talking Points
The final session of the course introduces practical, down-to-earth tips and techniques on how to initiate, conduct and act on meaningful data conversations.



Data Conversations is a one-day training workshop aimed at multi-disciplinary groups in the NHS—managers, clinicians, analysts—who need to use data in decision-making. The workshop—which is jointly led and facilitated by Neil Pettinger and Nick Tordoff— is informal and combines short taught presentations with longer discussion-based, case study-based activities.



Data Conversations can be booked as an on-site workshop for £1,950+VAT, and up to 30 participants (ideally a roughly equal mix of information analysts, managers and clinicians) can be accommodated in each workshop session. The workshop is jointly facilitated by Neil Pettinger and Nick Tordoff.