Joyce Hostyn argues that Better Human Understanding, Not Big Data, Is the Future of Business. Some excerpts (with my emphasis):
Despite the best of intentions, we’re not data driven, we’re hypothesis driven. Our stories (our mental models) are merely hypotheses of how the world works. But we see them as reality and they influence what data we collect, how we collect it and the meaning we glean from it…
In a quest to become data driven, are marketers trapping themselves with outdated mental models of data and analytics? “Big data is being wasted on marketing. The true power of analytics is in revealing cultural dynamics.”
Many echo these concerns about data-driven marketing, and the need to be skeptical and hypothesis-driven. (1) (2) (3)
Hostyn concludes her thoughtful article with a number of questions, including:
- Can we leverage big data to zoom out and understand patterns and trends, then zoom back in for a dive deep into the hearts and minds of individuals?
- Are we willing to develop hypotheses with the potential to disrupt our old mental models? Create experiments to test those hypotheses. Prototype to think. Collect feedback. Iterate.
At Primal, we’ve invested years exploring this mode of hypothesis-setting as a lens into big data. It involves a collaboration between humans and machines across the full spectrum of analytical and synthetical thinking.
What follows is a summary of that exploration and what we’ve learned to this point.