What do shoemakers' lasts and model ships have in common? The answer is that they are both models - in each case while the model is only an approximation to something, the approximation is good enough to be useful. A last is an approximation to a foot and although it looks like a lump of wood, it is useful in making a shoe that fits well. A model ship is a fraction of the size of the real thing but can be used to understand how it moves through the water.
While Data Analysis Australia is not in the habit of building model ships, the same principles of simplification and utility are relevant to the models we produce. Whether they be conceptual models to better understand or simplify a process, or detailed data driven statistical or mathematical models to provide a theoretical understanding of relationships in a quantifiable way, they need to be formed in a way that captures the important characteristics while simplifying the superfluous.
There are many software packages available these days that include modelling capabilities. These tools allow professionals in any field to create models. However, it is not the simple act of using the software to produce a model that is the critical part of a model's development - it is the verification, confidence and knowing that the right model has been chosen that makes the task one for the experts.