The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

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What Is 'Humanization'?

Humanization is the process of using data to tell a story (Narrative) about a real person's experience or behavior.

Numbers only tell part of the story, you need to reframe the measures into actual behavior to really understand what happens.

Developing fictional profiles of people developed from data (called "personas") is a great way to Humanize.

Just data doesn't mean a lot. Tell a story to help people understand the issues.

Josh Kaufman Explains 'Humanization'

Analyzing data is comforting to the quantitative-minded, but to really use data properly, you must go beyond juggling numbers to understand what they're telling you. When analyzing data from a system, it's easy to forget that it often pertains to the actions of real human beings.

For example, imagine a customer service department that answers customer complaints by telephone.

Numerically, reducing hold times from 10 minutes to 8 minutes sounds great-that's a 20% improvement! Put the champagne away: what the data-centric viewpoint misses is the fact that you still have a dissatisfied customer waiting on the phone for 8 minutes, which still feels like an eternity. Every minute on hold makes that customer angrier, which affects their perception of the company.

That 20% improvement pales in comparison to the Reputation hit your business takes every time that customer tells their friends and associates how horrible you are to deal with.

Humanization is the process of using data to tell a story (Narrative) about a real person's experience or behavior.

Quantifiable measures are helpful in aggregate, but it's often necessary to de-abstract the measure into actual behavior to really understand what's actually happening. Many businesses Humanize by developing a series of personas: fictional profiles of people developed from data.

When I developed home cleaning products for P&G, market research data told us that two broad Segments existed: people who valued regular deep cleaning ("Unless I clean with bleach and elbow grease, I'm not satisfied") and people who wanted cleaning to be quick and convenient ("I'm too busy to clean - as long as it looks good, I'm happy.") Using this information, we combined it with other data like household income, family statistics, and hobbies to create a profile of a fictional person.

Once the profile was developed, it because easier to use the data we had to make decisions - instead of relying on statistics to evaluate an idea, we could rely on our intuition by asking ourselves if "Wendy" would like it.

Don't just present data-tell a story that helps people understand what's happening, and you'll find your analysis efforts more useful.

Questions About 'Humanization'


"People are the center of the universe. Not stuff."

Stowe Boyd, social technologist


From Chapter 10:

Analyzing Systems


https://personalmba.com/humanization/



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The Personal MBA

Master the Art of Business

A world-class business education in a single volume. Learn the universal principles behind every successful business, then use these ideas to make more money, get more done, and have more fun in your life and work.

Buy the book:


About Josh Kaufman

Josh Kaufman is an acclaimed business, learning, and skill acquisition expert. He is the author of two international bestsellers: The Personal MBA and The First 20 Hours. Josh's research and writing have helped millions of people worldwide learn the fundamentals of modern business.

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