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From Data to Insight to Action

This microcourse is included in a series of nine microcourses that can be bundled together into our Microcertificate in UN SDG Impact. Click here to learn more: UN SDG Microcertificate.

Microcourse Description:

Data is everywhere; it can be found in every part of our personal and professional lives. Because of this, the decisions we make each day that drive our actions can now be informed by data. In this course, you will learn how to make data-informed decisions. This type of decision-making acknowledges that facts and statistics, along with intuition/instinct are needed to arrive at new insights, which can guide us to the best outcomes. Because the human brain makes decisions in the unconscious emotional part of the brain, and story is the one narrative that impacts this area, relaying these insights through story can spark action. This course covers topics such as: What is the right data to collect? How do we ensure it can be trusted? How do we make sense of the data? What meaning is the data conveying? How do we communicate this meaning through story to move people to action?

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this microcourse you should be able to:

  • Describe the need for people and organizations to become data literate.
  • Describe how research on the brain impacts our ability to make decisions using data.
  • Put together effective business questions to drive the collection of the right kinds of data.
  • Define the key question associated with each of the five parts of the Data-Wisdom Continuum: Data, Information, Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom.
  • Discuss various data analysis and visualization approaches to help make sense of the data.
  • Describe three different types of insights that can emerge from data: knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.
  • Define what makes for a compelling story when communicating the insights found in data.
  • Explain the core cultural elements found in organizations that use “data-informed decision-making.”


Lori L. Silverman, MS, MBA

Bio: Lori Silverman is a strategist and the owner of Partners for Progress®, a management consulting firm. Since 1991, she has worked across 25 industries to create and implement long-term strategies to grow enterprises and successfully facilitate complex, messy changes. Her personal mission is to help individuals, teams, and organizations become data literate. An internationally recognized speaker, Lori has keynoted at more than 80 events in the fields of enterprise data, business intelligence and analytics, insurance, healthcare, finance, program and project management, marketing, professional association, and quality. As a thought leader in business storytelling, Lori has authored three best-sellers: Business Storytelling for Dummies (with Karen Dietz, PhD), Wake Me Up When the Data Is Over, and Stories Trainers Tell (with Mary Wacker) and appeared on more than 80 radio and TV shows to discuss the tangle benefits of using story at work. Within the quality industry, she’s the co-author of Critical SHIFT: The Future of Quality in Organizational Performance and Quality, Cost, and Competitive Position. Lori holds a B.S. degree in psychology and an M.S. degree in counseling, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also has an MBA degree from Edgewood College, Madison, WI. Lori is an adjunct professor in the Industrial and Organizational Psychology master’s program at Golden Gate University in San Francisco, teaching Strategic Thinking, Organization Development, and Structure, Theory, and Ethics of Conflict Resolution.

Introduction Video:



  • Lite: $35

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Single microcourses do not qualify for academic credit. However, enrolled students can add three microcourses together, purchase a Microcourse Credit Conversion option, pay the difference between the cost of the microcourses and a regular trimester course at their degree level and submit your reflection journals and a Final Creative Assignment for grading. For assistance with this, please email our Registrar at registrar@ubiquityuniversity.org.

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