The Human Insights Missing from Big Data | You Should Listen To This

September 26th, 2017

Topics: Big Data / Analytics Consumerization of IT Future of Work Organizational Structure

Why is having more data not helping us make better decisions? Why is investing in big data easy but using it increasingly difficult? Why do so many companies make bad decisions, even with access to unprecedented amounts of data? What is big data helping us see, and what is it missing? These are some of the questions Tricia Wang asks in her TED talk “The human insights missing from big data.”

Tricia notes that big data has helped businesses quantify specific environments and systems to adapt and control processes for better development. This quantification has led to incredible advancements, yet has also created a dependency on the data itself over other important factors. Tricia calls this inclination towards data the quantification bias, in which businesses and people value the measurable over the immeasurable.

You should listen to Tricia’s TED talk because of her explanation of ‘Thick Data.’ Tricia makes clear that big data systems should not stand alone, but rather be accompanied by additional data points from stories, emotions, and trends that can’t be quantified. With the addition of these “temple guides” businesses can gain an incredible depth of understanding of a human narrative to grow and advance their business. Thick data goes beyond the numerical and asks why people act the way they do, and what factors create change in their lives. Thick data introduces aspects of emergent human dynamics to complement the traditional understanding of markets given by big data. This talk powerfully emphasizes the changes that many businesses are undergoing as they attempt to reconnect with users and customers around the world while maintaining a foundation in analytical grounding, and explains methods for cooperative interaction between thick and big data.

“You Should Listen to This” is a synopsis of a tech podcast which highlights a new strategy or insight that correlates with one (or more) of our areas of expertise.  If you have a podcast you recommend, we’d love to hear about it! Send your recommendation to us on Twitter @CenterDigital or shoot us an email.

Trending Digital Business Topics