Data Cannot Drive Vision

Originally posted on December 12, 2020 @ 8:04 AM

imageWe know that the things in life that we cannot count, count the most. We also know that the things we measure that don’t count are attributed with value when there is none. Numerics are not neutral but are attributed with meaning determined by one’s worldview.

Most of the things that Safety counts have no meaning. Data for injuries and related numerics are attributed but serve no purpose. At best they are a record of history but bear no meaning on culture or what can happen in the future. Whether the metrics or numerics are determined as positive or negative doesn’t matter, in themselves they tell us very little. However, a fixation on numerics tell us much about an industry that attributes importance to them. Most people don’t even know they have a fixation on numerics. It’s such a strange fixation that even when Safety tries to come out with something visionary it defines itself by a number ( As long as Safety sets its benchmark to a number, that number commands the identity and it’s always about zero.

Vision and envisioning ( demand insight, perception, creativity, imagination and person-centeredness to inspire. There is no inspiration or vision in data. Data doesn’t speak for itself but is interpreted and tells you much more about the methodology of the interpreter than itself.

If you see a safety book with zero in the title you can be sure it lacks vision. If it’s zero plus one, one less than zero or zero on zero you can be sure that the book will have nothing new, nothing inspiring and no vision. Furthermore, the numeric mindset ensures that there can be no leadership, cultural wisdom or risk intelligence in whatever set’s its sights by zero. Zero is the answer to a binary dumb question that asks ‘how many injuries do you want today’? The language and framing of zero primes the discourse to be about risk aversion and prevention.

When your guiding light is data, there can be no vision. There is no vision unless one is guided by personhood, goodness, trust, integrity, care, helping and community, nothing of value can be enhanced by data and numerics.

There is no ethic in zero because zero can only lead to brutalism. Any denial of fallibility can only lead to intolerance and dishonesty and this was one of the clearest outcomes of the Zero Survey ( What follows is that Safety then has to mask its own cruelty with the language of leadership when there is none. The only outcome that emerges from data and zero is brutalism masked by indoctrination and propaganda.

So, if the safety book has zero in the title, don’t buy or read it because it contains no vision.

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