We assume that the most valuable data is static and lives on graphs and in spreadsheets. Turning to the graphs first, last and always to get to know your customers, is like looking at a child’s development purely on a growth chart. You’re definitely not getting the whole picture. While we’ve been busy analysing the data for information, we’ve forgotten that what we wanted all along was the insight.
It turns out that the truth of what we need to know, and the questions we might not have understood we needed to ask—some of the most valuable data, is living in plain sight.
The wrinkled nose of the diner. The sigh of the shopper waiting in line. The posture of the customer as she walks out the door. What she packed in her bag before she left this morning. How she goes about her day. Noticing what people do is often more valuable to us than listening to what they say they think.
It might be time to close Google correlate and head down to the supermarket or the local cafe.
Because the trick to bringing things that matter to the world is not just to absorb information, but to make meaning from it.
Image by Ed Yourdon.