Being data-driven and human-centered

by Sara Cowles and Jeff Snyder | at MinneBar 12 | 12:10 – 1:00 in Calhoun | View Schedule

All of the answers we want are not in the data. They never are. Sometimes we need to go outside and talk to people. — Hilary Mason

There are a million ways to deceive ourselves into believing our projects will succeed. Data is key to keeping us grounded in reality. It helps us learn quickly what’s working and (even more importantly) what’s not working.

But data is not enough. Data won’t tell us WHY our customers are not taking the action we expected them to take, and it won’t reveal the insights we can gain from actually talking to our customers and observing their behaviors.

We’d like to have a conversation about how this looks at scale. How can we take the insights generated by talking to relatively few people, identify patterns that are meaningful and promising, and feed these into quantitative experiments to validate our ideas at scale. What does this iterative loop look like? What are some of the good ways to go about it, and what are the common traps to avoid?


Sara Cowles

An advocate for the power of design thinking to help companies innovate and thrive, Sara leads design and engineering teams to collaborate, experiment, and learn toward a better understanding of the humans we serve.

Currently Director of Product Design at When I Work. Formerly Director of UX and Engineering at enStratus and Dell Software.

Jeff Snyder

I'm a Growth Product Manager at When I Work. The Growth team at When I Work is responsible for increasing conversion, product usage and customer lifetime value through rapid fire in-product experimentation. Prior to joining When I Work's Growth team, I spent nearly a decade in the performance-based digital marketing world.