2021 Reflections and 2022 Actions

By Talwyn Whetter, December 20 2021


As we approach the end of the year, it’s inevitable that we reflect on our successes and failures of the year gone by.

For me the standout moments have been getting our brand, product and name out there, building an amazing and passionate team, and feeling so curious and enthusiastic about the way that we can positively disrupt how change is delivered every single day.

But another incredible part of our journey over the past year has been our capacity to learn. If I take my own personal journey, while I would never claim to be the world expert on transformation, I have been excited, challenged and captivated as I get new takes and insights on things I thought I knew and understood.

Leading product development in an industry where you have previously been in service delivery is clearly a great move – you have industry insight and deep knowledge of the challenges you are trying to solve. But the most exciting part; that opportunity to take yourself out of the day to day, to look at problems afresh and apply different filters is a way to completely change your thinking about the way you do things.

Find a new desk

I’m reminded of that phrase:

“If you always go to the same office, sit at the same desk, opposite the same people, then you aren’t really going to change your perspective”

Through this pandemic I suppose we may have found ourselves staring at the same 4 walls for a bit too long.

We glimpse different offices and different lives through the background of our Zoom companions – a dog, a nice painting a family member – a bit of a diversion but not something that is likely to radically change our perspective.

When I worked at the forefront of change and transformation programmes I was always learning, constantly talking to people, empathising and crafting solutions – but critically, I worked in the here and now.

For me, my journey into product has given me a brand new view of the role I used to play in transformation – not to think about how much better my new view is, but to reflect on all the things I couldn’t see from the centre of the programme.

Data literacy

The single most important learning from 2021 comes from that opportunity to be curious about what it is that makes change successful. And for me, that learning is all about data.

We are all so much more data savvy than we were even a couple of years ago. We have been pulled out of our comfort zone and really made to understand or at least interact with statistics on climate change and epidemiology on a daily basis.

This is helpful, because you would expect our overall understanding of data to improve. But like an office, if we still turn up to the same projects with the same spreadsheets, to get the same view – we really aren’t giving ourselves much of an opportunity to get a different perspective.

If you did one thing before the Christmas break, you could do worse than read this article from the Harvard Business Review on improving data literacy. I paraphrase, but the article outlines four key suggestions:

  1. Make sure your people know how to use the tools available – including Excel
  2. Have people in your business thinking about your data, how you are going to use it and how you are going to educated others.
  3. Build and tell stories about how data can be used well, in order to inspire.
  4. Ensure data is considered throughout the decision-making processes – understanding what questions will prompt data considerations (i.e. ‘how are we going to measure this?’)

Personally, I would make sure that you have at least one data evangelist in the decision-making process who will ask those question and help to join up the data dots in a meaningful way. This also signals an intention to put data at the heart of your business.  

Understanding the importance of data

As data becomes a more natural part of our everyday work lives (just as phrases like ‘P&L’ and ‘HR’ have changed our working practices) you can expect to see more sparks of innovation from more places in your business that can both drive and test more efficient and effective ways of working.

At Serendata, we put data at the heart of change management – sparking innovation and clarity about how businesses respond to change. We want to help organisations get a better view on their transformation journey and to help you on that path to organisational data literacy – so do get in touch to talk how your data can transform your change journey in 2022.

If you’d like to get more data literate yourself, we recommend diving into this Microsoft course from a short introduction to data analytics and what it can do for business:


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