Unlocking Big Data potential using Design Thinking
Big Data is high on the corporate agenda these days, with plenty of managers seeing high level opportunities. Unfortunately, its precise contribution to corporate strategy and operations is a lot less clear. Much like “the internet” about two decades ago, Big Data has to make the leap towards implementations with a proven link to value creation. In this Blog post I will argue how 2 key attributes of Design Thinking will support organizations in making this leap.
1. Context Focus: Big Data opportunities are often framed in terms of “what is technically feasible”. While this type of analysis makes perfect sense when user requirements are crystal clear, it is of no use in an environment where potential implementations are still a matter of exploration. Design thinking puts forward an investigative attitude towards the user’s context as the starting point of any value creation endeavor. Focusing on the user and its context help you to answer the key question of ”what is desirable?” in the first place. This helps to organizations define the opportunity space. This NYT article gives you an overview of how retailers are leveraging Big Data in a consumer-centric way.
2. Abductive reasoning: Considering the factual nature of Big Data, it carries the implicit expectation that the road towards value creation is a matter of traditional and straight forward analysis of … Big Data. Building on the context focus however, it is more important to think in terms of possibilities. Abductive reasoning addresses issues in terms of “what could be”. When the first insights with regards to desirability arise, an abductive approach can be applied with regards to framing potential solutions or propositions, therefore defining the solution space. This Cloud Times article lays out how IBM will map the solution space for how Big Data can contribute to the prediction of heart disease. Note that the focal point of value creation is not data analytics, but the “continuity of patient care”.