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  • feedwordpress 21:10:08 on 2013/11/22 Permalink
    Tags: , actionable business insights, , Big Data ROI, , , Data Visualization, FlowingData, G.I.S., genome research, geodemographic information science, , , Market Research, Visualize This, Whistle, wikileaks   

    5×5: The Big Deluge of Big Data 


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    5×5: The Big Deluge of Big Data

    It’s Friday. And that means, it’s time for Friday 5×5. Friday 5×5 is our weekly blog post featuring diverse perspectives from RE:INVENTION’s Leadership team about a controversial news article or research report.

    UP THIS WEEK: THE DELUGE OF BIG DATA

    Should companies be thankful for Big Data? Big Data can provide unprecedented amounts of information on consumer behavior, likely eliminating the needs of companies to use focus groups. However, many companies are struggling to use Big Data effectively. And from consumers’ perspectives, Big Data comes with the threat of infringing on privacy. In this week’s discussion, the RE:INVENTION team assesses the pros and cons that come with the implementation of Big Data.

    This Week’s Reference Articles:

    THIS WEEK’S QUESTION

    What are the pros and cons of big data for today’s business leaders?

    OUR TEAM’S RESPONSES

    Kirsten Osolind (“President and COO”)

    Data is “the next frontier for innovation.” Everybody says so, including McKinsey & Company. “Effective use of big data can increase a company’s return on investment by 10-20%,” McKinsey has declared. Big data leaders have 5% higher productivity and 6% higher profits than their competitors. For the rest of us, achieving Big Data payoffs can be vexing.

    In fact, if your company doesn’t have deep pockets like Google or Facebook and tons of dedicated data analysts and engineers on staff, mining business answers from Big Data can be a backbreaker. Many — dare I say most — companies have yet to put big data to the test in an actual business use case.

    And there’s the rub. Huge data sets are useless unless they provide actionable insights. For companies to generate value from Big Data, they need to connect data sets to insights to action in a fast, repeatable way.

    The secret to better Big Data ROI? Data visualization.

    Yes, some folks find numbers “sexy“, but most people think visually. Data visualization creates the narrative that companies need to harness Big Data for high impact. Data visualization can help your company see patterns, discover inconsistencies, and find answers to questions you never thought to ask. What you “don’t know that you don’t know.”

    According to a recent IDG Research study:

    • 98% of companies that are most effective at Big Data analysis have data visualization solutions in place.
    • Among companies that are “not very” or “not at all” effective at Big Data analysis, only 16% have implemented a data visualization solution and one-third have no plans to do so.

    Good data visualization requires more than eye-catching graphics. Here are six helpful tips:

    1. Tell a story — help viewers understand and make sense of the information.
    2. Know your audience — ask yourself what they already know, what their preconceived biases will be, and how they will interpret the new information.
    3. KISS if you can — simple is usually best, but realize that sometimes complex datasets require complex visualizations.
    4. Pick the right tool(s) for your data — let your questions guide your choice of data visualization tools.
    5. Consider hiring a vendor/service partner. No hard sell here on RE:INVENTION’s services. My point is simply that hiring experienced Big Data consultants — preferably those who are skilled in design thinking — can shorten your learning curve as your company nurtures your own Big Data prowess.
    6. Interactive maps are cool — in fairness, this is just my humble (and perhaps biased) opinion.

    When it comes to privacy, research suggests that most people will willingly share their personal information in exchange for benefits (discounts and perks). Safeguarding that data is the onus of ethical companies.

    Want some good reading materials on data visualization? I’m a HUGE FAN of Visualize This: The Flowing Data Guide to Design, Visualization, and Statistics (Wiley) written by author Nathan Yau, (aka FlowingData blogger).

    Joe Barrus (“The Technologist”)

    Big Data is the latest buzzword/trend businesses are being told they must adopt.  We are in the middle of the hype cycle where Big Data is heavily marketed and sold but whose benefits; implementation and application are not clearly understood or agreed upon by both suppliers and consumers.

    But like all new technologies and movements, there is basic value that will come to rest for the duration.  Big Data is here to stay.  In fact it will become a necessary tool for business survival and well integrated into business strategy and operational processes going into the future.

    The prima facie value is big data’s ability to gain insight into behaviors, needs and desires of different demographics through the technology’s ability to recognize patterns that exist in volumes of data.  By leveraging these patterns, businesses can get closer to providing consumers with more personalized products and services at economic scale.  This will give companies better capability to differentiate and compete within niche markets.  Economically, it is a knowledge creation machine that will help optimize products and services that will benefit consumers.

    But probably the greater value for Big Data is its ability to crunch volumes of data to reach accurate decisions quicker.  As we move into the future, we are seeing accelerating technological change.  This only serves to reduce the windows of opportunity to capitalize on new products and services.  Big Data gives companies the ability to predict future demand and make key strategic and tactical business decisions quicker than has been with traditional business analysis activities.  This speed to action will become a core capability all companies will need to develop in order to survive in today’s fast changing markets.  There are plenty of examples of where slow and inaccurate decision making has imposed significant harm on businesses profitability and survival.

    Outside of markets, Big Data has the ability to enable and bring forth significant social change. Big Data will become a core technology that will help with social planning, improving healthcare outcomes, reducing environmental risk, providing security, etc.

    But all this does not come without risk.  The negative implications are reduced privacy and potential for abuse.  But all improvements come with tradeoffs; we just need to decide as a society what we are willing to trade for those improvements.  I happen to like it when Amazon recommends products to me based on what others who were shopping in similar contexts bought.  But I also know that would not be possible if our shopping behavior was not stored and used as a source to produce those recommendations.  But because I’m confident that no one (at any level of significance) is examining my personal data with a critical eye but rather machines are objectively looking at patterns to improve my experiences, I’m ok with that.  We’ve always made these tradeoffs in the past on a smaller scale when we answer surveys and fill out personal profiles, etc.  It’s just that nowadays; this is done at a much greater scale.

    However, this greater scale is exactly what increases the risk of abuse if this data falls into nefarious hands.  If this data falls into the hands of criminals or unscrupulous government officials, it does present a real risk.  This is why it is important as a society to not become complacent as Big Data becomes more ubiquitous.  We need to understand the potential for abuse and set appropriate limitations and exert strong governance processes to manage and enforce it.  Any technology can be abused.  One can use a telephone to make bomb threats, but that doesn’t mean we need to ban telephones.  But we do need to make sure that abuse of these technologies are addressed and enforced.

    Big Data is here to stay and I believe its positives outweigh its negatives overall as it will have significant positive impact on future society as long as we pay attention to what we are doing.

    Dennis Jarvis (“The Marketeer”)

    What is Big Data? If it is quite simply (although there is nothing simple about Big Data design and management) the harnessing of vast amounts of information to provide the public with better products, services and conveniences to meet individual needs and improve lives, it sounds quite desirable. If we put Big Data in the context of “it is not just what you know, it’s what you know about whom,” it seems to take-on a darker side, almost something out of the analogs of Wikileaks, with concerning ethical, perhaps legal concerns.

    To me, Big Data parallels genome research. Genome research has opened-up the mother lode of life saving and changing medical options. We are now gaining access into the very causes of disease and potential solutions for prevention. Genome research has also caused rift in sectors of society over ethics and morals, almost akin to what surfaced with the publishing of Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World. However, the advances to-date and portending for the future have far outweighed any downside, in my opinion.

    Big Data has been progressing for many decades. Even in the early analog days of data collection, there was concern about confidentiality. The digital age has mushroomed this. I remember my feeling of confidence employing G.I.S. (Geodemographic Information Science) systems to identify micro-marketing opportunities, and even with these technologies there were confidentiality concerns, albeit nowhere near what has been raised about Big Data. How far we have come. I think Big Data holds more promise than concern. Nonetheless, as with anything in society, we will encounter individual acts that will raise alarm. But, I believe these will be in the minority and we cannot allow the 2% to drive the 98%.

    In business, science and government, the role and governance of Big Data needs to be set at the very top with a strong vision. Big Data requires organizational leaders to set the culture, agenda and rules, and to be held accountable by their constituencies and customers.

    Jorge Barba (“The Culture Guy”)

    With great power comes great responsibility. So companies should first feel more responsible, not thankful. I don’t think most company executives are in that state of mind though.

    Anyhow, I believe invasion of privacy will become the norm, and most won’t even notice when that happens. The problem, from a consumer’s point of view, is that most everything we use is now connected to a larger network of things. At some point, everything will be connected.  This is the data that has unprecedented value for companies who are competing a consumer’s attention because, well, it’s never been there before.

    But for companies, this creates a headache because they have more dots to connect that could potentially provide more meaning. Still, the challenge is to make sense of it all. It is very easy to take the data as a leading indicator of future behavior. Data won’t replace intuition, but enhance it. But to see its full potential, both for the consumer and the business, companies must be human oriented to make sense of it all.

    The point: don’t put an economist or IT person in front of the data. Put an anthropologist, a psychologist, a designer, anybody who looks beyond the numbers by going outside the building and having contact with the market.

    Kane (“K-9 Intern”)

    Humans have plenty of data. It’s time to analyze us dogs. Three big woofs for Big Data startup company, Whistle.  Whistle helps pet owners spot early signs that their dog is sick using Big Data. Their wearable Whistle Tracker measures your dog’s activity levels during walks, play, and rest. Works great for me when I hit the gym for yoga.

    THE FINAL WORD

    Big Data is here to stay. It is in any company’s best interest to embrace it and use it to better understand and predict their customers’ behaviors. At RE:INVENTION, our team of change agents weed through big data, provide actionable business insights, design customized business intelligence tools, and ultimately commercialize products and build markets for Clients. Our goal is to help our Clients make better informed decisions, reinventing the way that they do business. LEARN MORE about our Services.

     

     
  • feedwordpress 23:38:31 on 2013/11/15 Permalink
    Tags: , chatter, , collective intelligence, consumer goods, , , forbes, jive, , Market Research, , retail, seth godin, social collaboration, Social Intelligence, , social media innovation, social movements, social power, social technologies, , sun tsu, , yammer   

    5×5: Implications of Social Intelligence 


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    5×5: Implications of Social Intelligence

    It’s Friday, and that means RE:INVENTION’s Leadership team is discussing another hot topic in our weekly blog feature, 5×5. New to our blog? Every Friday our team reviews and debates a controversial news article or research report.

    UP THIS WEEK: Have Social Intelligence Tools Sparked a Revolution?

    Social media and new digital technologies have empowered individuals — making them more capable than ever to organize themselves, bypass authority figures, and rise up against the status quo. An angry crowd can organize, escalate, and go viral faster than ever before. People can start social movements and protests on Facebook. Will big businesses lose some or all of their authority as consumers gain power through collaborative social intelligent forces? In this week’s 5×5, RE:INVENTION team analyzes the implications of social intelligence on governments and big corporations.

    This Week’s Reference Articles:

    • ”Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution“, Forbes
    • ”From Phoenecia to Hayek to the Cloud“, a Wall Street Journal op-ed from Matt Ridley

    THIS WEEK’S QUESTION

    What are the corporate and political implications of the rising potential for consumers’ ‘viral consensuses’ through the use of digital social intelligence tools and communication?

    OUR TEAM’S RESPONSES

    Kirsten Osolind (“President and COO”)

    Revolution or evolution? You can trace the origins of “collective intelligence” to ancient religious texts and military maneuvers. Byzantine emperor Justinian I deployed monks to China in the 6th century to learn the art of making silk. Chinese General Sun Tsu’s scrolls (circa 500 BC) heralded the value of collaboration and competitive intel. An angry mob organized and stormed the Bastille, sparking the French Revolution.

    Social media may have leveled the playing field, giving us the richest source of data in the world’s history. What’s often missing these days is actual intelligence. Digging deeper…translating data and knowledge into actionable insights and better business decisions. While many corporations use social media to monitor chatter and broadcast brand messages, few are using social media effectively for customer service. And the vast majority are not cultivating social intelligence to detect emerging opportunities, set strategy, and drive disruptive innovation.

    Regardless of your industry — from consumer goods and retail to financial services and medical devices — you can use digital social intelligence tools and the collective wisdom of the crowd to curate and refine ideas faster and more effectively than ever before.

    …to track changing market trends, customer sentiments, and unmet market needs
    …to stay twelve steps ahead of your competition
    …to identify consumer points of market entry and paths to purchase
    …to develop, test and tailor new products or services
    …to address customer service issues in real time
    …to expedite regulatory approval
    …to help with market expansion
    …to minimize the risk of an investment decision being wrong
    …to drive change and create the future, rather than being reactive

    There are literally hundreds of social intelligence software apps to choose from like Spigit, Brightidea, Chatter, Yammer, Jive, along with public platforms like Facebook and Twitter. CRM systems, help desks, customer service platforms, online message boards, even employee social intranets can also be used creatively to mine data to improve business performance.

    Social intelligence can help your company make better decisions and quicker, more agile moves. If Sun Tsu were alive today, he’d be busy crowdsourcing his next book, planning a watershed digital moment to spark the next Chinese civil revolution, and plotting a creative way to collaborate with Seth Godin online.

    On a final note, it is rarely in the best interest of a corporation (or government) to crush dissent. Research suggests that dissent drives innovation.

    Joe Barrus (“The Technologist”)

    As the second article points out, social collaboration became a natural behavior that improved modern humans’ ability to survive and thrive.  So, for modern humans, social collaboration is a natural behavior.  However, as populations grew, the ability to command order began to degrade at scale and so new forms of authoritarian control emerged that impeded upon our ability to govern ourselves through social collaboration.  We only have to look at the failure of pure democracies to see the evidence of that.

    As usual, technology has evolved to solve scaling issues that has re-enabled the natural order of things to operate at scale.  This is a key enabler to innovation and disruption.  Technology solves the scaling problem and allows natural human behaviors to drive change at scale.  It is this dynamic that drove changes in the music industry for consumers to buy songs individually rather than as a collection tapping into the natural way humans engage with music.  Rather than seeing the death of the industry, we are seeing a resurgence as growth has finally started moving positively since its disruption.  The demand for individual songs was still there (just like it was when we bought 45’s long ago) only the ability to recapture the commercial market was missing.  That took some time to overcome since the change was driven from the bottom through a revolution but ultimately they figured it out.

    This raises a significant point.  What if you can tap into that same dynamic to design and drive change from the top rather than react to a revolution?  What if you can keep the consumer loyalty and trust as you transform your market rather than trying to re-earn that after disenfranchising them?  Absolutely companies must be able to react quickly.  Netflix is a great case study of a company that made a mistake and received a huge consumer backlash but who was able to respond to that with different models quickly so that they were able to retain that loyalty and trust for many of their customers.  The key here is speed to enact change.

    Companies can’t be reactive, they need to find ways to tap into that consumer base and allow consumers to be part of not just defining direction for change but also to be part of designing and implementing the change through crowdsourcing techniques.  What better way to retain and build trust and loyalty with your customers than to allow them to share in a sense of ownership and pride in the solution?  These days you don’t have a choice.  If you don’t keep your customers engaged end-to-end, you not only run a higher risk of no longer meeting your customer’s needs but you also run a higher risk of customer backlash that can be devastating!

    The idea behind social collaboration as a method to discover consumer demand and design consumer solutions is that by tapping into the aggregate knowledge of the crowd and letting them collaborate to come to a conclusion is that the conclusions reached by the crowd are often just as accurate or more accurate than any group of analysts can achieve in isolation in a back room.  And they can reach those conclusions much faster!  So, in a new world where the technological rate of change is accelerating and windows of opportunities are getting shorter, the survivors will be those who can successfully engage their customers through social collaboration techniques end-to-end throughout the product development lifecycle.

    From ideation solutions that drive and develop new ideas to social product development sites that have consumers help design and implement new products to highly interactive social sites where corporate representatives are open, transparent and highly engaged in conversations to receive feedback from consumers as products are released will become the norm for successful companies of the future.

    This is not to say that this will be easy.  Any social site needs to address the impact of Echo Chambers  that can drive out dissent; an essential ingredient to successful socially driven outcomes.  Solutions to address this are not easy to achieve but companies can easily become mis-directed if they end up following direction coming out of an echo chamber regardless of whether that feedback is negative or positive.  So there are some risks to this changing dynamic as we move forward to avoid allowing ourselves to change direction based on a few loud voices rather than from true aggregate knowledge and sentiment of the crowd that is meaningful to us.

    Dennis Jarvis (“The Marketeer”)

    The use of social intelligence to rally a call to action has been the norm across the ages.  Just consider the American Revolution and the famous ride of Paul Revere after seeing the message from the tower of the Old North Church in Boston  — “one if by two land, two if by sea” – as he then alerted the patriots that the British were on their way, resulting in the shot heard round the world.  To me, this is aligned with the very principle that David Kirkpatrick reviews in his recent Forbes article, Social Power and the Coming Corporate Revolution, in which he provides and excellent treatise on the impact of social intelligence tools on society and business.  Dilbert also provides us with a more light-hearted view of the new transparency.

    I believe human nature is more active than passive.  Social intelligence simply arms us with the tools that feed this tendency on a 24/7 basis.  The growth of mobile devices and tablets has driven this in geometric proportions.  One area specifically of personal interest is the impact of digital intelligence on the medical and health sectors, where consumers are increasingly empowered — in spite of the challenges and bad press that has come with Affordable Healthcare.  There are now more than 40 thousand health-related apps now available.  In 2012 there an estimated 44 million health-related apps downloaded and projected to be 142 million in 2016 (Source: Juniper Research).  Consumers freely and willingly share information on treatments – both in terms of efficacy, side effects and the practitioner performing.  In the end, I believe that consumers, armed with digital social intelligence, will drive the re-invention of health care.

    Jorge Barba (“The Culture Guy”)

    The ability that social technologies give us to bypass the traditional structure of decision-making will only become stronger as more corporations embrace them. But even so, the element of human nature is pervasive. So, I anticipate that a lot of corporations will still want to have a control of how decisions are made, even though the next generation of workers operate by different set of values, motivations and standards.

    Businesses that are founded by the next generation of entrepreneurs will set the new standard on how decision making is made. I would like to know how management innovators like W.L. Gore are adapting to social technologies, for they are the epitome of a leaderless organization, and one that is worthy of being modeled.

    I think that is something to watch out for, how and if companies will transition to new ways of working…

    Kane (“K-9 Intern”)

    In today’s business world, collective intelligen… SQUIRREL!

    THE FINAL WORD

    Knowledge-sharing is accelerating at a faster rate than ever due to the rapid spread and growing accessibility of social intelligence. It is causing companies to rethink and reinvent their business practices; those that embrace crowd-based wisdom will flourish, while those that reject it will fail.

    Curious about how RE:INVENTION can help YOUR company leverage social intelligence to improve business decisions and performance? CLICK HERE to learn more about RE:INVENTION’s Services. And follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

     
  • feedwordpress 18:07:46 on 2013/11/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , idea generation, , , Market Research, metrics, reinventing research, , reinventiveness, Steve Jobs   

    Market Intelligence: Steve Jobs vs. the Rest of Us 


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    Market Intelligence: Steve Jobs vs. the Rest of Us

    Most of us have heard about the aversion of Steve Jobs to marketing research, who felt that it limited true innovation. He had an unwavering confidence in his own opinion and instinct over what marketing research might tell him – an approach that obviously served him extremely well with Apple and Pixar. Jobs, like Edison, Disney and other famous innovators of that breed, possessed an uncanny ability to conceptualize beyond the present and take
    society to new unimaginable frontiers. Unfortunately, the rest of us need to innovate and reinvent with strong empirically derived insights about the marketplace. So, with all due deference to Steve Jobs, I would like to express my respect and thanks for the discipline of marketing research, and the extensive tool chest that comes with it – a tool chest that has become amazingly expansive with digital technologies.

    Well-conceived and executed marketing research enables the rest of us to make smart, fact based decisions, and reduces the risk associated with introducing faulty products, services, market penetration strategies and campaigns. I have been frequently confronted with the challenges posed by marketing research skeptics: “It takes too long.” “It is too expensive.” “Am I just going to learn something I already know?” The fact of the matter is that well conceived and designed marketing research does not have to be any of these, especially today with the digital capabilities available.

    Let’s consider secondary research. The Internet enables marketers to efficiently conduct competitive assessments at little or no cost. Prior to the Internet, a business would have little choice but to purchase either a stock or customized industry report to capture information about the competition. Now, competitive websites tell us a great deal. We can also employ social listening tools that allow marketers to monitor consumer chatter occurring about competitors as well as their own company. Search engines quickly point us in the direction of the statistics and market intelligence we need on target markets for a new innovation or business reinvention endeavor. Big companies and start-ups alike need this information to develop addressable market assumptions for business plans and to obtain funding.

    Primary research (e.g., surveys, focus groups, diary panels) has received an incredible boost from digital formats. Most marketing research agencies today offer online services, which allow for very cost efficient sampling, surveying and data capture. Also, this data can be quickly uploaded into sophisticated modeling designs to forecast marketplace uptake. Additionally, companies, such as Survey Monkey, have grown in popularity because they allow virtually anyone to conduct a survey, with a sample provided by the marketer or purchased at a very low price from the provider. Survey Monkey automatically loads the data into easily understood tables and graphs and information is available on a 24/7 basis.

    Marketing research in the digital age is faster and more economical than ever. Not unlike research conducted prior to the digital age, it needs to be conducted with a plan, the knowledge of how to ask the right questions to address the problem, and the ability to build insights from the data that lead to actionable and sound strategies. Sound marketing research helps us to avoid the pitfall of bringing to market an offering that may otherwise be destined for failure. So, give thanks for a discipline that can give you peace of mind and a good night’s sleep.

     
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