Too Much Data and Research?

December 14, 2009


Numbers and Stories 12/14/09


Despite the wealth of information available today, far too many bad business decisions are being made in the absence of good information, either because the executives have not bothered to carry out research, or have not had the capability or the time to question the research which is being presented to them.

Worse – perhaps because of the abundant data and the ease of access to it – today many business decisions that turn bad are taken on the basis of information that is presented by someone else (“secondary research” in research language), without questioning the validity of the conclusions, the structure of the study, the context in which the data was analyzed. It’s almost as if we couldn’t be bothered to think, because someone has apparently already done the thinking for us – especially if it comes from a “reputable source.”

For a decision-maker, the only way to tell the difference between bad statistics and the true story of the market is to make sure that he or she is equipped with multiple sources of information, and various tools with which to analyze them.

Numbers (quantitative research) and narrative (qualitative research) can tell us many wonderful stories about the market. Some of those stories are highly imaginative “fairy tales” because of a bad study – that shouldn’t lead us to ignore all the others which can direct us to our objectives.

Discussion questions:  Do you find many corporations take a narrow view of research? What are the hurdles preventing decision-makers from fully utilizing all available research? In what ways can research providers improve on the ways they communicate their findings?

My post: 

It is a simple case of too much information and executives with more scope and less time to devote to careful study of data. Therefore, there is an over-reliance on ‘trusted sources’ and ‘instinct’ to make decisions.  Leaders must decide what 3-5 things they will focus on each year, spend quality time on these priorities and largely ignore the rest of the ‘noise’.  In doing this, they can take the appropriate time to determine what questions need to be answered prior to moving forward on initiatives  and then seek the appropriate research to help answer those questions.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! ™ strategist

What do you think?  Please add your comments and add to the discussion!

Go to the full article at  Numbers and Stories


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