Archive for August, 2011

Showing Up in Unexpected Places

It can be a great learning experience to go where you don’t belong.

I attSKC Logoended a Tech Summit sponsored by SKC Communications a couple weeks ago. I don’t need AudioCodes’ Networking VoIP hardware or TASKE’s call center management software. I felt just a little guilty talking to vendors on the floor hoping to make a sale or meet a prospect.

But I loved the exposure to a whole new set of products and ideas that might not directly touch the work I do, but spur new ways of thinking about how maybe they should. I enjoyed hearing a vision of the future from companies like Cisco and Avaya.

Unified communications has huge implications for market research, insights and strategy—from analytics to CRM to surveys and focus groups. I’ll write more on that in a future post.

But the most important lesson is how much you can learn by stepping outside of your professional niche and spending some time learning about other cool things, simply following your curiosity and taking advantage of odd opportunities and happenstance meetings.

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Three New (Old) Reflections on Data and Analytics

The advance of technology is often perceived as the new continually replacing the old, both in terms of products and human expertise. Implicit in this Inc. Trend Watcher piece is the ability of technology to foster mentorship and knowledge transfer between “old school” experience and young talent. (h/t to @RockhillStrat)

Key quote from “NextGen” market researcher Tom Anderson reflecting on the 2011 MRIA Conference: “We need to become more than traditional researchers while retaining the methodological principles which have served us well for many years.” (emphasis mine) These principles are a huge value-add to new wave analytic approaches, but the key is effectively communicating that value.

@joegermuska posted this critique of McKinsey’s health care study with a caution to journalists to be more stats savvy. But the caution is warranted for anyone who interprets and relays data. There is a lot of upside to Big Data, but a lot of potential for misinformation as well. And you don’t necessarily need to be a stats geek to navigate data, but you do need to have a firm grasp of what to look for to make sure your data is saying what you think it’s saying.

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