Today’s real-time data, tomorrow’s forgotten dream


David Bowie releases his new album, The Next Day, this week. I’ve not had a chance to listen to it yet but the title itself was provocative enough for this post.

The disciplines of Big Data and real-time predictive analytics present organizations with the ability to understand behaviour at a relentless pace and also predict consumer patterns in order to take advantage of incoming opportunity.

In fact, consumer society today is almost a mirror image of businesses thirst for data in the here and now. We scan through emails as soon as they arrive, check Twitter and Facebook notifications instantaneously, root out a story to satisfy a hunger to know what’s going on, right here right now. Both organization and consumer are entrenched in the surrounding real-time data that none are actually bothering to dream big or think about tomorrow.

Being buried in today we seem to have forgotten all the little things we used to enjoy. For example, peppered in musical history are lyrics telling us to stop and smell the roses.

A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is a reality – John Lennon

Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow – Fleetwood Mac

Think of tomorrow. Think of tomorrow – Chris Isaak

It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes! – Les Miserables

Big Data and real-time/ right-time analytics present a challenge. Left unchecked they can turn a business to focus inward and forget about innovation in the same way that society is forgetting to plan and dream for a new day. Our minds are so busy being occupied with what’s happening right now we have no time to consider what future lies ahead of us, let alone try to shape one and so the same applies in business, we are so focused on predicting and reacting to events as fast as we can that we have no time or capacity to innovate.

Predicting the future is not the same as building a future. Real-time analytics give us insight and windows of opportunity but they do not control how we innovate and think about tomorrow and that difference needs to be understood and heeded before a business embarks on a Big Data grail quest.

Forget that difference and you might as well forget the next day.

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Categories: Data Analytics / Big Data, Story

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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One Comment on “Today’s real-time data, tomorrow’s forgotten dream”

  1. March 5, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    This post provides one more example of the more general issue James March highlights in his seminal paper: “Exploration and Exploitation in Organizational Learning” (Organization Science 1991 2:71-87). Namely the tension that has to be managed between exploiting (in the sense of improving/optimizing an existing process) and exploration (in the sense of looking outside the box and asking the bigger questions of why and how). The practice of BPM provides many such examples, such as applying LSS to improve a process versus (say) TRIZ to question its need and veracity. Now we have yet another example to add to this growing list. And, as always, the question of how best to manage this tension remains.

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