• Andrea

Light-Touch Data-Gathering Can Yield Powerful and Practical Insights

Our founder and science lead Dr. Laura Mangels’ research (with Dr. Joel Suss and Dr. Brian Lande) on the use of force in the police was recently written up in Calibre Press. She shares some thinking on how this research relates to the approach we take at UvvaLabs.

Police departments are protective of their people. They don’t like to share information or expose problems. When it comes to tricky questions like the use of force, research can be very sensitive. We must be mindful of also not placing a large demand on officers’ time because any minute they spend on admin is a minute that they are not out spending time protecting the community.

Studying what makes an expert cop an “expert” when it comes to the use of force may seem like a daunting and even impossible task. Most research takes a top-down approach with intensive, time-consuming and rigorous data requirements--a bit like painting by numbers. Yet, information can also be leveraged to allow the data to create its own mosaic in a relatively undemanding way. Allowing a mosaic to self-form from information that’s more easily available gives us the chance to glean powerful insights that would otherwise be difficult to wrangle.

Much like police departments, corporations can be protective, and can struggle to share data on diversity problems, as there is a huge discomfort around that topic. However, the approach does not have to be cumbersome. Simple, light-touch methods can still paint a rich picture of what is happening in the organization and can empower decision makers with the right tools to take action.

Our’ philosophy is about extracting powerful insights without the need for deep or painful explorations. We keep things simple so that the actions that decision-makers take can be deployed as fast as the organization itself is moving without losing any rigor.

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