Understanding the impact of Big Data is not self-evident for many companies. Big Data offers endless possibilities and as such organizations are overwhelmed. Big Data requires different technologies, new IT systems, new processes and a different way of working. In addition, Big Data requires a different culture and changing your company culture is always hard. Especially when new technology is involved.
In order to be successful with big data, you need a culture that incorporates data-driven decision-making. That does not mean, however, that organizations should only focus on big data analytics and ignore gut-feeling. Gut-feeling, or intuitive synthesis, is an important aspect of decision-making and successful companies are capable of combining the two in what has become known as Design Thinking.
In the past decade, design thinking, also known as a human-centered approach to innovation, has become a popular practice at organizations from around the world to generate innovative and competitive strategies. Although the history of design thinking can be traced back to the 1960s, the adaptation of design thinking for business purposes followed in 1991 by the founder of IDEO, David Kelley. Specialized design thinking firms such as IDEO help organizations create new products and services using the design thinking methodology.
The core of design thinking is to drive innovation, create human-centered products and services and help organizations deal with open and complex problems. Creativity is an important aspect of innovation and design thinking requires a multi-disciplinary team of people in order to stimulate this creativity and develop radical new solutions. In order for creativity to flourish during a design thinking project, you need data, lots of data. Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, describes design thinking as a thorough understanding of the needs and latent needs of (potential) customers through direct observation, prototyping and feedback loops. This begins with obtaining a holistic, 360-degrees view of the product, service and customers’ (latent) needs. The objective is to approach customers from multiple angles. Big Data can help, or even speed-up, to obtain this deep understanding of your customers, products and services.