Hire the Makers
When someone thinks about hiring a data or analytics person, they’ll jump to all the technical buzzwords and skills. From a data scientist job posting, you can imagine some executive saying, “I need a data scientist who knows python, big data, R, statistics, hadoop, and machine learning who has at least their Ph.D. and 10 years of experience.” These might end up being the credentials of who you hire, but checking all of those boxes doesn’t mean success. You just found a person who studied the right things at the right time. These technical items and requirements may be necessary for a particular job, but not sufficient. So, instead of just playing data science lingo bingo, look for the analysts who are Makers.
A maker is foremost a creator. They take joy in creating new things and new challenges and possibilities energize them. They are self-starters who want to try something to see if it is possible. This means they don’t let their experience get in the way. They are confident that they will figure it out via web searches, YouTube videos, or by asking a friend or colleague. As a result, sometimes they will fail but do so in a way that everyone benefits. For example, they’ll learn a new skill or the valuable lesson of what doesn’t work. However, when they succeed, it will result from putting together something new in innovative ways. Over time, Makers become skilled in many diverse areas, which makes them even more effective creators. People will often look at a Maker’s work and say, “I could never put that together.” That Maker will almost always respond “yes, you can and let me show you how” because making goes hand in hand with learning and teaching.
So, what does the Maker Analyst look like? First, drop any notion that analysis is not a creative pursuit. Putting together data to solve real-world problems is full of creativity, which is why Makers thrive in right analytics environments and Amazon knows what you’ll be likely to buy next. This means the Maker Analyst has something creative to show you in their work. A time where they used 15 tools and brokered a deal with another team to complete a project. Or a time they wrote custom code because nothing else was quite right and the job needed done. Second, a Maker Analyst cares more about techniques and solving problems than the tools they use. Tools are just a means to an end. Certainly, they’ll agree that some tools are better than others and they’ll even love some of them, but they’ll get the job done with whatever tools they have in front of them. Third, the Maker Analyst gets engrossed in and is energized by solving a challenging data problem. In the right conditions you’ll see the wheels turning in their head and the steam coming out of their ears. You will feel their energy. Put several Maker Analysts in a room together, present them a challenging problem, and watch the sparks fly.
The next time you go to hire a data scientist, advanced analytics consultant, or operations research analyst, you should still check out their credentials. But, spend some time seeking out the Makers who will help to transform your analytics organization.