weirdos wanted
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Dominic Cummings’ now infamous job advertisement at the beginning of this new decade asked for “data scientists, project managers, policy experts, assorted weirdos” to apply for a position in government.  Like many organisations today, Cummings is looking to put data at the heart of UK civil service decision making and is looking for the right people to drive this more scientific decision making.

But it was the ‘assorted weirdos’ mention that struck me.  Why weirdos?

Today’s workplace is changing: people are living and working for longer creating a more age-diverse workforce, and as it becomes easier to interconnect, we are increasingly working with people from across the globe, often from different cultures speaking different languages.  So, it’s little wonder that Cummings is highlighting the need for an “unusual set of people with different skills and backgrounds.”  The more diverse the workforce, the more informed decisions will become with such a melting pot of viewpoints and perspectives.

Technology is a key enabling factor in this changing workplace, and there’s no doubt that data is driving better decision making, so I applaud Cummings’ innovative job description on one level, but on another, you can’t just invest in the tech tools and hire the data scientists and expect the decisions to be better.

Being data-driven is not about the technology, but about what makes the technology work: the people, the processes, the culture and the mindset.  I cannot stress highly enough the importance of getting this right in order to achieve a data-first approach.  too many organisations fail to understand that successful data-driven transformation is about instigating a cultural change that requires organisations to truly redefine how their people operate internally and what their processes need to be to support transformation.

Part of the pleasure of my job is going to visit different organisations and learning about their individual challenges and how they propose using data to help.  Unfortunately, in too many cases, they have been dazzled by shiny new tools, products or platforms that vendors are selling, they throw money at the problem and expect things to change.  Sadly, not all that shines is gold.   People and processes will produce better results than products.

Let’s look at the people for a moment.  The role of the data scientist has changed.  No longer can the “weirdos” be brought in to sit in the corner, speak a mysterious language to one another and remain completely disconnected from the business producing occasional sparks of genius.  Success comes from communication with the rest of the business to ensure everyone understands why they are putting data at the heart of every business decision and to ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction.

It’s no coincidence that most consultants have cited Emotional Intelligence as one of the top 10 skills required for the workplace in 2020, and this is something that is particularly close to my heart.  I love helping data science teams put aside for a moment their (usually impressive) data skills and focus more instead on how they communicate and engage with the business and break down barriers across the organisation.  Understanding the needs of others and communicating what you are trying to achieve and how that can help others achieve their goals is not always easy and many individuals and teams struggle to develop the necessary skills

It’s for this reason that I’m particularly proud of the Trusted Consultant Programme that Mango has launched.  Increasingly, data scientists and analysts are being asked to run or contribute to complex, multi-departmental projects and expectations of success are high. The programme is designed to help data science and advanced analytics teams with a proven framework and tools they need to engage with stakeholders within their organisations in a positive, success-led manner.  By the end of the course attendees will have developed the essential skills required to work with business stakeholders, work as part of a team to manage the project, and present analytic results to non-technical audiences.

So, like Mr Cummings, Mango is calling for data scientists, assorted weirdos and unusual sets of people to learn how to communicate with the world the ways in which their unique skills and backgrounds can help others make better decisions.  Perhaps we could also invite a few politicians to apply as well!

If you want to find out more about our Trusted Consultant Programme contact

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We’re pleased to announce we have opened the call for EARL London 2020 abstracts!

The Enterprise Applications of the R Language Conference is all about R and its commercial applications. The conference is cross-sector and features talks from across all industries and company sizes. EARL focuses on the real-world usage of R – we want to hear about your projects, issues, solutions, collaborations, headaches and triumphs. The 2020 conference will take place on the 8-10th September in London. The format will be a day of workshops followed by two full conference days.

As well as the usual 30-minute presentation slots, we will be holding another ‘data for good’ lightning talk session on the second conference day (10th). This year we are looking for talks on a “green” theme to showcase the use of R to address, measure or solve environmental, climate or conservation issues and challenges. If you are using R for a project in any of these fields, then we want to hear from you!

What we love most about hosting EARL each year is the people. You make this conference a welcoming and energising place to be. As a speaker it’s comforting to know that the audience will have plenty of questions (yes, we’ll be bringing back the throw-able mics!), and will share your passion for R. Whether you’re a first-time presenter or have been to EARL every year, we look forward to receiving your abstracts.

Submit here. Submissions close end of March 2020.


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Mango Solutions, a full service certified partner of RStudio, are delighted to be supporting the rstudio::conf 2020 conference in San Francisco, on January 27th-30th.  This annual tech conference promises to be ‘all things R’ and includes an impressive agenda covering tutorials, presentations and lighting talks from recognised R experts and developers.

As long time champions of the R community, and organisers of the LondonR user group, Mango has been invited to host the London version of the rstudio::conf 2020 around the world ‘watch party’ which we are hosting in conjunction with R-Ladies London. This is the first year that watch parties are being run and will allow the London based R community the opportunity to see live-streams of the keynote sessions and interact with the San Francisco based hosts and guests in real time.

Liz Matthews, Head of Community & Education at Mango Solutions, said “this will be the first event of its kind and promises to be an exciting opportunity for the London R community. The watch party will be the next best thing to actually being in San Francisco and hearing about the latest developments in R.”

Celebrating a 10 year strategic relationship with RStudio, Liz said, “sponsoring the RStudio conference is a pivotal part of our relationship as an RStudio full service certified partner. Mango offers a full service offering for the RStudio suite of products, from the installation of an RStudio environment, best practice operating models, training and supporting the usage of R in production environments”.

Samantha Toet, Partner Marketing Specialist at RStudio Inc, said “I’m thrilled that Mango Solutions will be joining us both in person at the conference and remotely for our watch parties. This is a great way that we can support not only our partnership, but the data science community as a whole.”

Both the RStudio conference and Mango’s annual EARL conference provide the growing R community with an abundance of networking opportunities and learning experiences centred around R.

Having developed the R capability for some of the world’s largest organisations, Mango’s extensive knowledge of the R ecosystem in addition to ancillary technologies such as python and spark, makes us a well-placed and trusted partner for data science and for scaling an appropriate environment R using RStudio platforms. At the conference, Mango Solutions will be providing details of their new support packages to assist enterprise clients with accelerating in the use of RStudio products.

We look forward to meeting you in San Francisco and welcoming you to our live stream at LondonR in conjunction with R-Ladies.