Welcome to the team Iggy!

30 June, 2020

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Dr Ignatius (Iggy) Menzies is set to become a Dragonfly at the end of July, in a new role to promote, support and implement reproducible research with our clients.

Reproducible research uses code to extract data from its source, carry out analyses and data visualisation, and feed the findings directly into reports rather than relying on manual processes. This way, changes in the data automatically feed into the latest version of the report, saving time and improving accuracy.

Iggy comes from being a software developer in the public sector area at Datacom and before that was the data science lead in the Environmental Reporting team at the Ministry for the Environment (MfE).

“I first came across Dragonfly through Douglas Bagnall, who lived next door to me for nearly 10 years. (Douglas kicked off Dragonfly’s language recognition work back in 2015). I really liked the Regional Economic Activity Report (REAR) that they had just produced for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment – I remember being struck by the quality of it.”

“The REAR caught my imagination and I could see how useful the reproducible research approach could be for some of the work we were doing at MfE. It was the inspiration for us to contract Dragonfly to help automate data collation and verification in the National Monitoring System.”

Iggy says a major motivator for him to promote reproducible research is people’s engagement at work.

“I’ve often encountered situations where smart analytical people are spending a very large proportion of their time doing manual things like copying-and-pasting data or triple-checking that the numbers in reports match the results of analyses. Using an automated code-based approach frees up time for people to do things they’re genuinely interested in. This could be refining the analytical methods they use, thinking more about interpretation, or coming up with engaging ways to communicate research findings.”

At Datacom, Iggy says he’s enjoyed a great team and manager, and the problem solving aspect of software development.

“I like the discrete challenges you get in coding, like making a button do a specific thing or fixing some broken functionality. But bigger than that too, like how can you use data and design to make peoples’ lives easier or to answer gnarly questions, and how can the answers inform policy and produce better outcomes.”

Those same issues are set to engage him at Dragonfly as well. As he says, it’s the perennial challenge – we’ve got this data but what does it mean?

“I’m happy to be moving towards a really good opportunity and am looking forward to some very interesting conversations and subject material. Dragonfly feels like a place where I’ll be able to keep learning, while helping organisations solve some important and challenging problems.”