Raw numbers have some usefulness, but much more if they are fitted into a context by being weighted. So, for instance, 100 patent applications filed in 2009 tells something about a law department, but that number weighted by R&D spending or invention reports submitted or revenue of the company tells more. Or giving a weight to that figure in comparison to some other figure, such as licensing fees received, puts the figure in perspective.
For that reason, more insight in context, this blog has frequently mentioned various circumstances where weighting numbers makes sense (See my post of Nov. 30, 2005: one way to compute a weighted average; Dec. 31, 2006: a second way to calculate a weighted average; Nov. 25, 2006: weight surveys that cover multiple business components by component revenue; Feb. 20, 2006: a weighted average for litigation cycle time; Feb. 6, 2007: weight the components of law firms’ proposals; April 16, 2009: weight RFP responses; Sept. 5, 2007: probability-weighted sample; Dec. 31, 2006: how to weight lawyers per billion by revenue; March 25, 2009: weightings and a grid analysis; April 1, 2009: benchmarks should calculate weighted averages correctly; June 15, 2009: weight survey results to be nationally representative; and Nov. 8, 2009: weight multiple attributes in evaluations of law firms rather than ask a global rating question.).