What is this?
A Data Wall is a dedicated space within a relevant business area to display and communicate data in a transparent and visual way. The tool has two keypurposes: to highlight the baseline data to stakeholders in order to provide the impetus for change, and subsequently to communicate the success of the initiative using the post-improvement data and the realised benefits. The figure below illustrates an example data visualisation that could be part of a Data Wall.
What does the tool help achieve?
Encourage stakeholder engagement
Presenting the data on a Data Wall in a transparent and visual way has greater impact with stakeholders than data that is only stored and shared electronically. The Data Wall encourages ownership of the information presented, promotes collaboration, and generates discussion about how to interpret the information and what work needs to be done.
Generate stakeholder buy-in
Setting the scene by presenting baseline data on a Data Wall can be extremely effective in demonstrating the need for change and securing stakeholder buy-in. This can be particularly useful with senior stakeholders and process/service owners who may hold strong opinions about what the issues or challenges are. Discussion held at the Data Wall with a range of stakeholders can significantly influence their opinions.
Create a benefits-drive culture
Using a Data Wall throughout the life-cycle of an initiative will help you to embed a culture of evidencing benefits. This is one of the most visible tools that stakeholders outside of the project team will interact with. The Data Wall demonstrates what can be gained from being transparent about data and motivates stakeholders to evidence benefits.
Communicate the impact of the initiative
When you have gathered the post-improvement data and the benefits are realised, the Data Wall is extremely effective for communicating the success of the initiative to the wider institution community beyond the key project stakeholders. In this way the Data Wall showcases the value of the evidencing benefits approach and encourages colleagues to try implementing the tools in their own business area.
When do I use it?
With the project team
Introduce the concept of the Data Wall to the project team as early as possible. Display the Benefits Exploration Map and Measurable Benefits Data Plan on the Data Wall until the data gathering is complete. This reinforces the importance of the data capture activities to populate the Data Wall.
When the baseline and post-improvement data have been gathered
Use the Data Wall to discuss the baseline data with the project team and use it to generate improvement ideas. Invite a range of stakeholders to visit the Data Wall and use this opportunity to generate buy-in. Repeat the same activities when the post-improvement data has been gathered to communicate the benefits realised and where further work is still required.
Tips when using the tool
- A Data Wall does not include a process map, or the outputs of a brainstorming session to identify solutions, or a description of the improvements implemented. The focus is solely on data to evidence the need for change and the impact of change
- Ideally, the Data Wall should be located where the project team will be carrying out the work, or in the business area that is relevant to the change initiative
- If a physical Data Wall is not possible due to lack of space, consider the use of a virtual data space which offers accessibility to the relevant stakeholders
- Use in conjunction with the BEM and DP for maximum effect, to drive behaviours to evidence benefits