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11/05/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/05/2020 14:53

Sowing seeds of change: Instilling data culture at the National Trust

Editor's note: This article originally appeared in The Economist.

The National Trust's data culture is helping the charity tackle today's challenges with greater intelligence and efficiency.

Jamie Preston, a National Trust lead ranger for London and the South East, faced a problem. Every time he sat at his computer to work out budgets, he lost hours and hours trying to interpret data. Conservation had always been his passion, making him perfectly suited to the role of a ranger-the main responsibilities of which include the preservation of functioning and resilient ecosystems on the lands owned by the Trust.

But as with many jobs, the role of ranger has changed over the past decade. With the aim of delivering more public benefit in an increasingly digital age, the digitisation of internal processes has been widespread. As a result, even careers that were once considered hands on now require a certain level of technical competency. For less tech-savvy workers, this can be a hugely stressful experience which translates into significantly diminished efficiency and output. For Mr Preston, a lack of experience in data analysis led to more time at his desk and less time outdoors performing his core duties as a ranger.