Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Lara Lee and Daniel Sobol — What Data Can't Tell You About Customers

Across industries, companies are using the vast amounts of user-generated data to guide innovation of new products and services. But data mining does not equate to developing "customer intelligence." Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.
Data can reveal new patterns that point a firm in the right direction, but it can't indicate what to do once there. It reveals what people do, but not why they do it. And understanding the why is critical to innovation.
Harvard Business Review | Blog Network
What Data Can't Tell You About Customers
Lara Lee and Daniel Sobol
h/t Apj in the comments)

5 comments:

Bob Roddis said...

Human behavior is nuanced and complex, and no matter how robust it is, data can provide only part of the story. Desire and motivation are influenced by psychological, social, and cultural factors that require context and conversation in order to decode.

How silly. That sounds like those wacky Austrians. Everyone knows that Samuelson proved that "scientists" can predict human behavior exactly like physics using math formulae. Unpredictable humans. What a crank idea.

Tom Hickey said...

Austrians and Keynesians (other than "bastard" Keynesians that combine neoclassicalism with Keynes, like Samuelson) agree on non-ergodicity of social systems, as do virtually all social scientists but mainstream economists. Uncertainty is fundamental to genuine Keynesianism.

paul said...

Individuals are unpredictable but the behavior patterns of large groups can be pretty predictable.

Thus we can be reasonbly sure that prohibition or a war on drugs won't stop people from using.

We also know that people en mass are unlikely to willingly starve themselves to death.

Trixie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roger Erickson said...

Walter Shewhart summed this succinctly back in the 1920s.

"Data is meaningless without context."