What's the best story you've ever been told? What's the best piece of fiction you've ever read? What is it about the memories of those that have made them stick in your mind? Defining what a story is and why they have impact is very difficult. At its heart a story has characters, a narrative, tension, and a resolution. What if you could take the key aspects of storytelling and apply them to data?
The world of connected everything is swift-approaching. A world where everyday objects - from our toothbrush to our car to our glasses - are able to communicate, save and share data. This is a time of great innovation with an avalanche of ever-smarter devices beginning to move our way, generating more and more data.
Usable customer insight from every touch-point will allow a business to reduce churn, increase satisfaction and grow revenues. Customer retention budget should be used in tandem with acquisition budgets to ensure that the customers being generated are the ones that you want to retain and supply your business with great long-term value.
What we see with data today is a similar situation to what we had in the era prior to Web 2.0, where there was a lot of content around, but socialisation over that content was not enabled. Just as we've seen with the social media boom of recent years, however, there is now an opportunity and appetite for creating communities of interest around the socialisation of data.
Now I'm not a photographer but I do know, and work with, quite a few of them. A couple of weeks ago they seemed happy and well-adjusted, as content as any bunch of creative sole-traders. But last week something happened that changed all that and I suddenly started receiving lots of off-loading emails full of rage and hate. Getty Images had started giving away photographers' stock photos for free.
Anyone following the economic and political debate in recent years will have found it hard to escape the fact that the price of essentials is rising. While most have accepted this as a given, and policy makers have been tussling to tame the rises, what has been missing from the public debate has been hard evidence on precisely how much these rises have impacted households over time.
It baffles me that the immigration debate in Britain always focuses on how much it costs to bring in immigrants, rather than how much they offer back. Right now in the US, for example, 60% of the top technology businesses have migrant founders. Can we in Britain really afford to risk turning away the next Sergey Brin?
Across the world, ethnic and cultural minorities are marginalised and experiencing more poverty and worse health outcomes than the rest of the population, but there is a lack of statistical information around this. By measuring national averages, the MDGs cover up this situation and fail to incentivise countries to breakdown of data into sub-national groups.
Twenty five years ago the world made a promise to children - a promise enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We promised every child the right to survive and be healthy, the right to an education and the right never to be subjected to violence. Through the use of data, we can tell where and how far those promises are, and are not, being kept and identify what more needs to be done to fulfil them.
The best big data is the data generated as a by-product of operational, customer and supplier processes. The data that people naturally share, and are willing to, in return for a better experience or end product. And the best big data is when it becomes information that is readily analysed by business users for useful insights.