YouTube – TEDxCalgary – Naheed Nenshi – Calgary 3.0 is a video (via Reddit) of the newly-elected mayor of Calgary. It’s an election that I was unaware of until today when (like most other non-Calgarians) when the news seems to be full of Canada’s first big-city Muslim mayor.
To me, that’s not the story at all. That’s the sort of thing I expect from the increasingly diverse society that exists in the large Canadian cities. The real story that strikes me upon seeing this video, is that the citizens of Calgary have elected someone who actually does have what is probably the most important attribute for somebody in this role (among other roles). I’m talking about the ability to understand that decisions should be based on data. Decision-making is the major role of such a mayorship and in virtually all of them data must be the most important factor. This of course assumes some general common values (equality, freedom, etc. are desirable).
We now live in a world where there is far more information and knowledge than any one person can deal with. Intuition, anecdotes, and a small number of hopefully-experts are no longer the best we can do. In this short video, Nenshi demonstrates that he can go out and get data, analyse it, and make recommendations based on that. I’m not suggesting that all politicians should be excellent data miners and analysts; they merely need to have people that are and be willing to take the results. Of course, being about to graph some basic data in a spreadsheet is something I’d hope they could manage.
Here’s to a future where decision-makers know how to make decisions 🙂