One of the biggest challenges in change is perception. Perception of ourselves, our team, our organisation. Who we perceive ourselves to be impacts what we do and achieve. And ultimately impacts what we can do and achieve.
In the data management conversation in the humanitarian sector, we see this play out. We perceive ourselves, our organisations at the centre of data management. Therefore, when others begin to talk about becoming people centred or data portability, data access, and so on, we perceive it as a threat to the ways things are. And more than this, it is perceived as a threat to us, to our identity.
One of the keys to change is helping to shift how we perceive ourselves, our identity. I’ve been writing this daily blog for nearly 4 years now. In the early days, a friend referred to me as a writer, something I had never considered myself to be. It was outside of my identity. In that moment, my perception of myself and my identity changed. A writer became part of how I saw myself.
Changing to a people centred data management approach in the humanitarian sector requires a similar change. It requires us to change our identity. We need to switch from viewing ourselves as data companies and using Gartner as the holy grail of advice to viewing ourselves as employing a people centred data management approach. We may not know how to get there today, but once we change our perceived identity we will begin asking different questions and finding our way.