Friday, 15 May 2015

Polls, Pundits, Predictions

I knew things wouldn’t be much better after the election in terms of Communication and Leadership and I was right!

Since the 7th May 2015 at one second past 10 pm we have been subjected to endless, and I mean endless post mortems. 

Boo hoo.  What went wrong??? Or rather, how did we get it so wrong??

Pollsters and pundits make a lot of money for their expertise – what would we do without them?  

That was a rhetorical question by the way.

We’ve had centuries of elections without gangs of ‘experts’ telling us what we’re thinking and how we’re going to vote. Society’s reliance on them has created an industry in itself that in this election proved kind of useless.  The annoyance I have is how much air-time, newsprint and internet space they took up with what has turned out to be rather valueless information.

What went wrong?  Nothing went wrong other than the media and the politicians giving these pollsters and pundits far more credence than they deserved. 

What would have happened if they weren’t around?  Since people made their own choices, clearly not influenced by the information avalanche, I suspect that without the glut of analysts and commentators it all would have simply been quieter. 

The airwaves, newsprint and web would have to have found other things to write about and guess what?  They would have!  Aside from cat videos, there’s plenty of real news going on in the world that barely got a look in for what seemed like months.

The soul-searching which should take place, and I guarantee by the next election won’t have taken place, is - do we need them at all? 

The Labour party candidly said after the fact that their internal data was telling them one thing (what indeed actually happened in terms of loss of seats, etc.) while the polls were saying another.  

Clearly they had their own mechanism in place which was feeding them information and yet the lure of those exaggerated figures allowed them to ignore their own ‘evidence’.

As individuals we often rely on external ‘data’ to tell us how we’re doing instead of looking inwards.  

The same with organisations that depend too much on consultants to show them the way, when their own employees could tell them what’s going on.

So I’m willing to take bets right now on any election that’s coming up that those pundits and pollsters will be trotted out again as though nothing at all happened. And all that noise will  just keep getting louder and louder..

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory

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