In the end, big data is really a backward science.
It’s a rear-view mirror tool. Think of a super computer with OCD tirelessly sorting through past events – even in real-time as they un-spool – one that seeks out repetitive patterns in the world, makes sense of them, then sells them to the highest bidder.
Most of us remember a way of life guided by homilies, intuition, and superstition. Now we have apps like Yelp, Match.com and Pandora that tap into the power of big data and help discover our hearts desire. Just for fun, check out the documentary attached to see how music discovery was done back in the days before Pandora came on the scene.
Full disclosure – I’m a brand research executive and skilled in what is sometimes called “empathetic listening.” This means I’m an inveterate people watcher, instinctively put myself in others’ shoes and strive to figure out what makes people tick.
I’ve been reading up on trends in UX and brand design recently and find that an empathetic approach is highly prized at agencies as various as IDEO, frog design, Landor, and BBDO. Empathy is considered an essential component in up-front evaluation of user needs and, as well, is often leveraged in creative strategy and execution. Consider P&G’s amazing new campaign for the 2012 Olympic sponsorship, “road to glory”, that recognizes the role played by moms in supporting their young athletes. In this work:
- Empathetic listening drives insights that fuel creative/design strategy
- Empathetic messaging is at the center of the executional elements celebrating the games’ unsung heroes…moms
To check out the campaign click here. And look below to see another amazing example of empathetic listening driving empathetic creative – part of a pro-bono campaign by BBDO for the Ad Council.
Moral of the story – empathy opens doors to human understanding and is an irresistible force that breaks down barriers and brings people together.
God is in the details.
The existence of Higgs boson, a sub-atomic particle dubbed “the God Particle” because it explains the dynamics of mass, was confirmed on July 4th at the CERN labs outside Geneva. Peter Higgs first proposed it in 1965, but it took an additional 47 yeas, lots of math, and a $10 billion supercollider to prove it was real. Check these links for a deeper dive:
Amazing, really. Years of struggle to confirm a scientific principle that appears to have no practical value. The Economist put it this way, “The importance of Higgs belongs to the realm of understanding rather than utility. It adds to the sum of human knowledge – but it may never change lives as DNA or relativity have.”
The moral of the story – the thirst for knowledge is a strong, motivating force in human affairs.