2011: The Role of Interpretation in Insight


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A presentation given by Matt Mayfield to MorningStar, Oct 2011

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2011: The Role of Interpretation in Insight

  1. 1. Data > InsightA design thinking approach to understanding data and what to do with it
  2. 2. Matt MayfieldIIT Institute of DesignGraduate program in Design Research and PlanningEmphasis on methods to improve design thinkingMotorola Mobility (now a part of Google)Mobile Devices and Services managementEmphasis on understanding the impact of mobility on daily lifeDoblin Group (now a part of Monitor)Innovation Strategy consultingEmphasis on user-centered techniques for business innovationMatt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  3. 3. Today“Executives want better ways to communicatecomplex insights so they can quickly absorb themeaning of the data and take action.”Big Data, Analytics and the Path From Insights to Value.MIT Sloan Management review, winter 2011.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  4. 4. Drowning in Data
  5. 5. Portable People Meter Nucleus Energy Manager
  6. 6. Aggregation to disaggregation‘bazillion’-bytes petabytes terabytes bytes individual activity broad aggregation Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  7. 7. Aggregation to disaggregation‘bazillion’-bytes Trends petabytes Operations Processes terabytes Devices Sensors bytes individual activity broad aggregation Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  8. 8. Aggregation to disaggregation‘bazillion’-bytes Public Trends petabytes Organizational Operations Personal Processes terabytes Devices Sensors bytes individual activity broad aggregation Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  9. 9. Data is dumb, we want insightliposuction impacts property values? Google Trends, Aug 2011Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  10. 10. Visualization will save us?Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011 Aaron Koblin
  11. 11. InterpretationAffected by Bias
  12. 12. [bias] AnchoringWe are terribly bad atrevisiting our initialassessment of a situation.The initial framing of theproblem is hard to shake. 999-99-9999Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  13. 13. [bias] Emotional taggingWe attach the emotionsand feelings associated withremembered experiencesto the new situation. Thishelps us decide if we shoulddeal with the situation ornot, and if so, what sorts ofthings we might do.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  14. 14. [bias] AttributionWe tend to take credit forpositive outcomes butattribute negative outcomesto external factors. Thisinclination is exaggerated byour tendency to misperceivethe causes of events. PoliticianMatt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  15. 15. [bias] Complexity“It is very difficult, if notimpossible, for an individualdecision maker to see an entirecomplex system.”G. Sargut and R. Gunther “Learning to Live WithComplexity” The Harvard Business Review,September 2001.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  16. 16. [bias] Limited exposureAs our tools for findinginformation try and predict whatwe want, they begin to favorwhat we “like”. This is in conflictwith our expectation that searchresults are objective andindependent of our interests.http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.htmlMatt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  17. 17. Interpretation is Social
  18. 18. [social] Storytelling to understandMatt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  19. 19. [social] Socializing improves insightThe process of transferringknowledge requires bothsocialization (person toperson) and externalization(person to group).Ikujiro Nonaka, Noboru Konno, The conceptof "Ba’: Building foundation for KnowledgeCreation. California Management ReviewVol 40, No.3 Spring 1998.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  20. 20. [social] GroupthinkStructural faults:• insulation of the group• lack of impartial leadership• lack of norms requiring methodological procedures• homogeneity of members social backgrounds and ideologySituational context:• highly stressful external threats• recent failures• excessive difficulties on the decision-making task Kelly Blair, 2010, Wired Magazine• moral dilemmasIrving Janis, Victims of Groupthink, 1972Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  21. 21. [social] Gathering people is not enoughRequires different workspaces and tools for differentcollaboration stages.Cheskin/Herman Miller Study, “Collaboration in Practice.” 2001.Requires an organization and reward system that promoteteam accomplishment rather than individualistic action.Anne Donnellon, Team Talk, Harvard Business School Press, 1996“Shared leadership” in complement with “vertical leadership.”Craig L. Pearce, The Future of Leadership: Combining Vertical and Shared Leadershipto Transform Knowledge Work.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  22. 22. What can be done?
  23. 23. Increase diversity of thoughtMore perspectives andviews are better Temperatures Heat Index Watches/WarningsDeviant roles actuallycan help... Radar Radar/satellite Satellite Jet Stream RPM Forecast VisibilityMatt Mayfield - Oct 2011 Wind speeds Dew Point Feels Like Temps
  24. 24. Make room for reflectionMatt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  25. 25. Seek out plausible alternatives“The objective is not to get a moreaccurate picture of the world aroundus but to influence decision makinginside the mind of the decisionmaker. The objective of goodscenarios is better decisions notbetter predictions.”Peter Schwartz, Co-Founder of Global Business Network,The Business, 22/23 September 2002Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  26. 26. Support collaboration“[Collaboration is] the process ofcreation: two or more individualswith complementary skills interactingto create a shared understanding thatnone had previously possessed orcould have come to on their own.”Michael Schrage, “No More Teams! Mastering theDynamics of Creative Collaboration.” Doubleday, NewYork, 1995.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  27. 27. Use tools and methodsIn an increasingly complex world, evenroutine tasks have become socomplicated that mistakes are frequent.Written guides that prevent them fromforgetting key steps in any complexprocedure.Checklists help decentralize power: theyfoster communication and teamworkinstead of relying on individual prowess.The Checklists Manifesto: How to Get Things Right,Atul Gawande.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  28. 28. Interpretation in Practice Data - Tools - Environments
  29. 29. Steelcase Leadership Community“We are better leaders becauseof this space.”James Hacket, CEO, Steelcase Inc.100 sq. ft. area, created in 1995 thatgathers the top 25 Steelcase executives.Lots of informal meeting space, a largecentral workspace with a “dashboard,”shared private spaces on demand.Results: increased communicationamong leadership team, made topexecutive faster in key processes andin implementing changes.Matt Mayfield - Oct 2011
  30. 30. Data > Insight Insight is interpreted Interpretation is affected by bias Interpretation is socially improved Tools and environments can helpMatt Mayfield - Oct 2011