We live in an extraordinary age. Ever since the dawn of mathematics our world has sought to become ever more engineered. In this process, we accept the need to collect more and more data. Data used to be kept in nice little packets. However, security specialists the world over identify that users’ data is now stored asymmetrically on and off site and, indeed, listened to by Big Brother.
Algorithms are being built to anticipate and assist in many aspects of daily living. The cynic would say that they are being built to control us. Taking it a step further, there is a growing group in the scientific community who believe that our world is a matrix-like computer-generated reality. Mind blowing! (The Future of Humanity Institute)
However, back to Planet Earth. Our world feels more complicated, doesn’t it? There are far more statistics and data to comprehend than ever before: How many hits on our website this week? Have we had more likes on Facebook? How many phone calls has operative 218 made this week? How many sales have they converted?
The question for me is: “Are we reflecting on this data enough?”. What is important data? More importantly, what isn’t? Are we trying to digest too much and, in a digitally induced bulimic eruption, emptying the contents of brain and ending up with nothing nutritional at all.
I am bombarded with platforms every day that promise to sort all of this out for me and auto-cream the best data for us. I think these have merit, for example, we use Hubspot to help us make sense of the social media maelstrom.
Despite some very large companies investing in big data analysis and getting competitive advantage from its use, down in SME land we don’t have a budget for ‘Big Data’ and most don’t.
Even with the best will in the world, the amount of data being produced is far outstripping our ability to analyse it. I have a philosophical question in my head whether we will ever catch up with it. Collection is exponential already.
In reality, how we respond to our customers and what we collectively believe in is defining our success. Every interaction we make is respectful and personal. The standards we walk by are the standards we accept. These are human behaviours, not engineered.
What REALLY matters are still the humans. The most positive impacts I see in organisations relate directly to the quality of the management team and how they communicate. The stronger the common purpose, the stronger the belief in one another, and the stronger the outputs – don’t you think?
Tim Dew is the founder of Games Without Frontiers and inventor of the ROCKET business simulation.