Tag: Data Analytics

26
Oct

SenseMaking Rising

4x4goodg

Beyond Data Visualization

Humantific CoFounder GK VanPatter posts to his LinkedIn blog:

Visual SenseMaking continues to rise and for us that’s all good news. Some of our Humantific readers will know that long before the “Big Data” wave arrived, Elizabeth Pastor and I first presented on the subject of how information informs innovation at a Cooper Hewitt Design Museum conference, here in New York City in 2001.

Since that time, we have learned more and more by working with organizational leaders using visualized information as fuel to help tackle complex challenges and drive change. By 2001 we already knew that SenseMaking in an innovation context involves more then just making sense of data. 🙂

The secret sauce of Humantific has always been the combination of SenseMaking and ChangeMaking, how to integrate various forms of insight directly into the cocreation or innovation process.

Being engaged in this work for a prolonged period of time certainly accelerated our understanding early on, regarding how methods need to change in order to be reflective of this information-based fuel. Writing an R&D type book on the history of innovation methods helped to drive home this realization. 🙂

For us the vast overblown overemphasis on “Big Data” has been a bit of a side show distraction but realization is finally emerging in the marketplace that data itself is not a magic bullet. Unless you widen the inputs beyond just data and integrate those insights into to a learnable changemaking process, nothing much is going to occur with just the data visualized.

In our Humantific work, data is not the king of the castle but rather is recognized as one form or one dimension of insight that we want to weave into the SenseMaking puzzle. In our Humantific practice we created the 5 Dimension model of SenseMaking that includes the integration of upstream framing, ie; making sense of the challenge or opportunity space……

What we are teaching is how to operate and move forward constructively in contexts where the challenges and opportunities are uncertain.

What we are not teaching is downstream assumption-based Design Thinking methods. By 2001 we had already figured out that in the context of complex organizational and societal contexts, assuming up front that you know what the challenges are does not make much sense.

Participants in our Complexity Navigation skill-building program receive this workbook. We are trying to decide whether we should publish a public version of this book this year so if you would like to send us your vote feel free!

See the entire post here:

SEnse1

10
Dec

Scrooge Meets Data Analytics

We love the 1951 film adaptation of Christmas Carol story and its relationship to data analytics and data storytelling so we are reposting this for our readers who might have missed it last year…:-)

You have no doubt watched the classic Scrooge a million times but try watching it this year anew with your Making Sense of Big Data hat on. Is data analytics a form of time travel? You betcha! Take a wild guess where data analysts are most often traveling to? Whats often missing in data analytics chit-chat? View Scrooge and reflect!

Written by social change advocate Charles Dickens in 1843, Christmas Carol contains so many themes that are relevant today. It can be viewed as a story about poverty and injustice, redemption and transformation, the demise of industrial capitalism, workaholics versus lifeaholics, corporate values, how not to create corporate cultures, ghosts, greed and morality, the reenvisioning of philanthropy, etc.

What Dickens originally had in mind in 1843 was an advocacy-oriented report regarding the state of the poor and the need for change in 19th century England. Instead of doing a report he decided to create a softer, much more sticky and enduring advocacy, in the form of the Christmas Carol story.

We could not help but notice that miraculously the structure of this classic film maps directly to our SenseWHEN lens that we often use in transformation work with organizational leaders. In SenseWHEN we ask: When is the picture that you want to create? Are you seeking to create pictures of Yesterday, Today or Tomorrow? In the context of the film this is the equivalent to visitation from the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come.

Thinking business school case studies for a moment, one could say that Ebenezer Scrooge was in fact an organizational leader. In the film we get to see him embark on what turns out to be a journey to create a new personal and organizational strategy. He takes the journey unwillingly but perhaps what is most important to take note of in the film is where he ends up in relation to what the data was projecting.

Of course from a cinematic perspective the pictures seen in the film of Yesterday (Christmas Past), Today (Christmas Present) and Tomorrow (Christmas Yet to Come) all look the same visually. In real life, real world we would recognize that two of those views, Yesterday and Today, could be / would be based on data and one would be a Tomorrow prediction based on existing patterns. The picture of Christmas Yet to Come was, on Ebenezer’s behalf, a product of 1843 predictive analytics in action.

This is beautifully remarkable when we consider that our own recent study of two centuries of data visualizations showed that 98% were pictures of Yesterday and or Today. Out of almost 1000 data visualizations in the study only 2% were attempts at pictures of Tomorrow. Here in this 1951 film we can see not only a picture of Tomorrow but also coming into view is what role it played in the formulation of Ebenezer’s strategy.

We noticed that the future picture that was based on data projections turns out to be NOT the future that comes true for Ebenezer. In a wonderfully entertaining way the story makes clear that there are multiple futures possible. Of course data based prediction is useful but not necessarily conclusive.

After seeing the picture of Tomorrow based on behavioral projections, the film shows Scrooge waking up in a state of enlightenment to begin immediately redesigning his future in real time starting immediately on Christmas morning. The future that Ebenezer now has in mind for himself and his organization is quite opposite to the future that was based on projecting patterns from Yesterday and Today into the future.

In this sense the story brings into focus a magical juncture that is known by many of us doing generative future work to exist between today and tomorrow. It is a moment that occurs after the three SenseWHEN views have appeared and been absorbed. In the film we see Scrooge in that magic moment essentially stepping through a doorway or gateway rejecting one future and embracing the possibility of designing another. It is a beautiful thing!

Remarkably we see very similar patterns (without the ghosts) of reflection, analysis, generation, recombination, reformulation, gateway in much of the futuring work that we do with organizations today.

Rather than viewing data as prescriptive of future outcomes it is more often being used as fuel to inspire and create “straw man” scenarios, which may or may not ultimately be embraced as part of future design. For many enlightened leaders the purpose of data based scenarios is less about prescribing and more about informing possibilities.

While more and better data makes for better future projections the underlying physics of the universe have not changed much since the time of Dickens. Until humans figure out how to bend the laws of the universe the future remains one step ahead of us, whether we all like it or not.

If Ebenezer had mistaken the data projected future as the one and only option, if he took it as prescriptive rather than informative his transformation and that of his organization would not have been realized, at least not in the particularly positive way that comes into view as the film ends with Scrooge walking into his newly designed future. Lots to think about there.

Until someone takes the link down you can check out the 1951 film starring Alastir Sim as Scrooge for free on YouTube.

Related:

Big Data For WHEN?

Note: This post was first published here on the Humantific blog on December 22, 2012.