As a serious amateur cyclist, I follow closely all of the news about blood doping in sport. Blood doping, or any other drug-based technique to enhance performance, violates the rules.
Athletes who dope shatter a cardinal principle in sport—the expectation that all athletes come to the playing field as equals, prepared to compete based on their strength, their speed, and their agility. The athlete is trusted to participate fairly , and those who cheer the sport trust the athletes to compete fairly.
Of course, athletes try to gain every possible advantage before taking the field. But some innovations or strategies violate our sense of fair play and we make rules that prohibit the behavior. Speedsuits in the swimming pool, pine tar on a baseball bat, amphetamines in the blood stream—you get the point. We simply don’t trust that the competition remains fair.
The doping stories from London are not surprising: new dopers are getting caught and thrown out. Do they really believe it is worth the risk? What makes doping in amateur sport so confounding is that the gains are so marginal and short-term: glory, perhaps some financial payment from sponsors, but the fame is truly fleeting. But, if doping athletes are not caught, if they are able to win and be glorious, that fame means everything.
In today’s world, digital information is the fuel of business. We cannot afford to make business decisions without trusting our information. Companies, systems, and individuals that try to play by cheating, and by offering up information that is not real, are getting caught. As in athletics, we are seeing a transformation—“data doping” can no longer be sustainable as a business model for competing.
Much of the mortgage loan crisis can be traced to “data doping”. Driven by the desire for amazing economic returns (the gold medal in business), companies stopped testing and auditing the veracity of information. Employment histories were not checked; financial data was not verified; home values were not confirmed.
My trust prism is a powerful tool for companies to use to evaluate whether their own data is being “doped” by inadequate governance. The trust prism is also invaluable for testing the integrity of inbound data from customers and suppliers. Don’t get caught data doping!