With the onslaught of data and statistics about the pandemic, the world has seen an explosion of armchair virologists and policy pundits. Everyone has an insight to share, but not everyone gets it right. The World Health Organization, the European Commission, and national governments strive to harmonize data — a laudable effort, but the need for data literacy across the broader population has become abundantly clear.

As of March 30, 386 million tweets referenced #coronavirus or #Covid19. Sites such as worldometer.info/coronavirus track the latest statistics in real time. That’s a lot of data. Interpreting the numbers requires understanding the basics. And many people aren’t there yet. Twitter is filled with poorly, or wrongly, interpreted data (like the tweet to the right). Forunately, the number of English-language fact checks on social media rose more than 900% from January to March. And Twitter has taken down over a thousand misleading tweets, such as the claim by the Venezuelan president about the use of a “natural brew” as a potential cure for the virus.

Yet that won’t stem the tide. Producers of misinformation will not likely be stopped. A better strategy is to focus on the consumer. Oddly prescient, this year’s focus of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is mathematics, with a draft framework currently under review.

While the flurry of stats/data around the pandemic has raised the issue, the implications go beyond following new cases and death rates. Data literacy matters for businesses and their employees.

Use The Recovery To “Future-Fit” Employees With Data Literacy

As companies recover from the closure, they will need to apply insights to improve their chances of success. The recovery will be an opportunity to implement new technologies and redefine business processes. Data literacy is a key element to ensuring that employees are “future fit.”

Tune in to the recent Forrester What It Means podcast, Data Literacy: The Secret To Customer Obsession, to hear how to make your enterprise more data-literate.