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Sean Farrington

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Insight is Where the People Are

Posted: 02/11/2012 14:04

A recent article by The Economist's Schumpeter columnist summarised for me how the business world has changed over the past years and even decades: Knowledge and knowledge-workers. While difficult to define, we can all agree that we are all, to a certain extent, knowledge-workers. The article went on to cite various business quotations but one quote stood out above all others for me:

"Insight is not a light bulb that goes off inside our heads. It is a flickering candle that can easily be snuffed out."
Malcolm Gladwell, writer (1963-), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005)

In my opinion, knowledge is nothing without insight. Data is the next frontier and everyone should be an explorer, but the issue that knowledge-workers are facing is how to explore data to add insight to their knowledge.

So, in light of this, and Mr Gladwell's claim about insight being a fragile concept, how can we make business discovery and insight-gathering sturdier and more widely accessible?

Well, while tools have existed for a while that help navigate data and potentially offer insights into business, they have traditionally only truly been available to the data scientists and IT departments. According to Gartner, however, we are now entering "what is, arguably, the biggest shift in BI since the rise of enterprise-class BI platforms." Spurred by the growing influence of business users and consumer-like apps, change is coming and it's coming fast.

Data visualisation is playing a big part in bringing business discovery to all, as are intuitive tools available on mobile devices, with social and collaborative mechanisms. As Mr Gladwell says, however, insights can easily be killed or overlooked. As knowledge-workers, one thing we all have in common is the need to share our insights and experiences. And that is why we recently had our Business Discovery World Tour in London - to hear from many organisations built on knowledge and insights and find out how they strengthen their insights and discoveries.

From Westminster City Council, Orange, Colchester NHS, Greencore, JLT, DTZ and Aggregate Industries to Google, all presented at our event to highlight how they fare as today's knowledge-workers. And, harnessing insight for today isn't enough for that competitive advantage, in my opinion. Which is why we also invited David Rowan, editor of WIRED whose quest is to 'identify The Future' - and there were some truly interesting predictions.

Now that we have some of these insights on The Future, thanks to more advanced technologies, knowledge-workers can go to work to keep the candle burning brightly. Because Insight is for Everyone.

 
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