Read about our views on marketplace changes as well as updates on our research and event programmes.

Asking the right question

Posted: 17th August, 2015 | 0 comments

Albert Einstein once said that if he had an hour to solve a problem and his life depended on it, he would use the first 55 minutes to determine the proper questions to ask.

Thomas J Watson, founder of IBM, said something similar: “the ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer”

Jonas Salk, developer of the polio vaccine, went one step further saying: "What people think of as the moment of discovery is really the discovery of the question."

Finally, W Edwards Demming, founder of the quality movement, said: “if you…

In a world where consumers say one thing but consistently do another it can be hard for brands to get their bearings.

With personal data, the ‘privacy paradox’ is now a classic example. The more consumers say they are worried about losing control of their data, the more data they seem to hand over.

Of course there are lots of issues here including degrees of consumer ignorance and resignation as well as corporate judgements about reputational risk.

But measurement problems are also a core part of this problem. It’s easy to measure the things that consumers are doing, but…

Data sharing can deliver the missing piece of the puzzle

We use language to communicate, but sometimes it gets in the way. For example, we commonly use the general word ‘data’ while overlooking the fact that the value and the harm it creates comes from its specific qualities. And its specific uses.

Each particular dataset provides a single perspective on the people, staff or machines that generate it. Another dataset from another loyalty card, another bank, another utility company or another mobile app could provide a very different view.

This means that even though most organisations are still trying…

Sometimes the solutions people propose to problems make things worse rather than better. If we don’t watch out, calls for increased ‘transparency’ around the collection and use of personal data risk becoming a great case study.

Proponents of transparency argue that by making more information available about how their data is collected and used, consumers will be better informed, and therefore end up making better decisions: transparency is key to the holy grail of ‘informed consent’.

The problem with transparency (and informed consent) is the assumption that people are prepared to invest the time and effort that’s necessary to read…