Jeff Doyle: On taking the new role of Executive Manager of Infrastructure Measurement at ARRB


It was T.S. Eliot who said:

Where is the Wisdom we have lost in Knowledge?

Where is the Knowledge we have lost in Information?

The collection of data is very much at the bottom of that list. It may be the first step but it may even be the wrong numbers or full of inaccuracies. Data is not guaranteed to produce the definitive measure of what we are trying to understand until it has been through a process backed by knowledge and wisdom.

It’s wonderful to see that ARRB has set up and employed an executive manager for measurement. Jeff Doyle has taken on the newly created role of Executive Director of Measurement. He joins us on the line.

Issues covered (timing in the interview is listed in mm:ss)

  • The word measurement is important. It’s not data and it’s not information. Is there more significance in the word measurement? (0:41)
  • Is this a position that would not have existed five years ago? Have we progressed in our appreciation need for understanding of good data measurement rather than just numbers? [01:54]
  • What’s your background? [02:27]
    • Professional Footballer [02:29]
    • Pen Salesman [03:29]
    • Manager [04:16]
    • Executive management [04:39]
  • Being a footballer is often seen as whether you personally are good or bad. But did you see a start to see there how the role of teamwork became important? [06:49]
  • So football is often the replays are all about the goal that’s finally scored. But the good management is looking at what built up to that. It’s not just the one off. Is it the understanding and the measurement of the build-up that becomes critical? [08:48]
  • You’ve mentioned a couple of times working with the existing structure. Is you position in the style of matrix management; that you’re not out there just doing the product, but you’re helping other departments within the ARRB to do their product? [12:05]
  • Is there room in very tight budgets in the world for technical curiosity, not just funding what we know to exist at the moment? [14:28]
  • In terms of local councils; is it the case of not just giving them numbers or even giving them solutions, but give them guidelines. Perhaps giving numbers where they can play with them and come up with their own ideas and you might give them a package to help them play? [18:01]
  • Your CEO Michael Caltabiano has talked about auditing. Not only do you give data so people make decisions, but do you then push hard to say we must measure afterward: not to condemn, but merely find out what worked and what didn’t? [21:22]
  • There’s been a lot of work including the Grattan Institute coming out about the concern that there has been a decline in skills and independence within government departments. Do you think that good measurement is a great way of being able to give thoughtful scientific advice that can empower the need for professionals within organisations, be it government or even private? [22:36]

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Originally broadcast 28 August 2021

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