TED Talks: Human Insights Missing From Big Data
Tricia Wang, a technology ethnographer works by helping companies to grow their business by exploring the unknown about their customers. She believes that many companies make bad decisions despite having access to huge amounts of data. Wang demystifies the big data and recognizes its drawbacks.
Wang suggests that corporations should focus on the ‘thick data’ and unquantifiable insights from the actual people so as to make the right business decisions if they want to prosper in the unknown business worlds.
For a long time, people have craved for prophecy to find out what exactly is going to happen in the near future. This is basically because everyone wants to make the right decision. Since the future is always scary, it’s better to know that the decisions made are based on the assurance of the outcome.
Corporate firms are usually faced with a question on what products to manufacture, the best markets to venture in, the cost-effective distributions channels, and the best way to predict the sales volumes and much more. As a result, companies invest heavily in the big data to help them make significant decisions on the future but the returns are surprisingly low.
According to Wang, having massive data is not helping companies make better decisions especially for companies who have all the resources to invest in huge data systems. Stories from various big companies such as Nokia and Netflix reveal that having great data systems does not make things easier for companies.
Most companies concentrate their market surveys and methods on optimizing an existing business model but the best strategy according to Wang is to focus on the emergent human dynamics that are not yet tapped into. Giving attention to the external market dynamics helps corporate companies to get ahead of time.
Tricia Wang believes that the fault doesn’t lie with the big data. It’s the way companies use the data. The big data can only succeed when quantifying in specific environments such as the electric power grids, delivery logistics, and genetic code. Business forces are generally complex and unpredictable. Hence, it’s hard for companies to just rely on the big data when making decisions.