October 26, 2016 - Susan Rojo | Storytelling with Data

Data Everywhere: Take Routine Out of the Questions – Hadooponomics Episode 13 with Morgan Wright

We’ve got data. It’s everywhere today. From presidential debates to self driving cars to habits around celebrating Halloween. We are surrounded by data and we continue creating more and more every day. Data isn’t the problem. People are the problem.Hadooponomicsep13

Yes, people.

That’s why we kick off season three of our Hadooponomics podcast series with Bluehill Research by talking with world renowned cybersecurity expert, Morgan Wright. He has a breadth of people experience from law enforcement to technology as well as traveling the world as Senior Adviser for the US State Department Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program. Morgan knows that what it all comes down to in Big Data is people.

Even with all the talk of artificial intelligence and machine learning, which are indeed making an impact on things, it comes down to people. People create the data. People gather and store the data. People query the data. And people need answers from their data.

Part of the trouble is how to delve into the data. How do we approach it to get the right answers. Forming the right question is key. Do we look to Big Data to answer our same old questions or do we look for the questions we didn’t know we needed answered? Sometimes we know the questions that need to be asked and sometimes we just have a warehouse of information we hope has answers.

Morgan said:

“…you’re playing checkers but you’re looking at it from the side. I see the board, and I see a red piece, and I see a black piece. And I know that they’re there, but I can’t see the relationships between the pieces. I can’t come up with a strategy because I don’t know exactly how many pieces there are, where they are on the board. So I said, we gotta change our view of information. You need that top down view.”

The real question is how do you get actionable insights out of your data? We can’t do it by asking the same questions from the same viewpoints. That’s the beauty of letting Big Data lead you to the questions as well as the answers by simply getting out of the way and letting the visualizations guide you.

The other part of the people problem is our propensity toward routine. We do the same thing today that we did yesterday. Not surprisingly, we are comfortable in our comfort zone. Trouble is we aren’t going to make those leaps to the solutions we need from our comfort zone. You never hear anyone say “think inside the box.” Do something different.

“You go to these conferences and you always see, “the usual suspects.” So you come, and all of a sudden we start getting an echo chamber. I told somebody, don’t go to RSA, go to the auto show. Why? Because it’ll start spurring different ways to look at things.”

Google and other companies allow employees to work for short periods on things outside their day jobs for just this reason. It’s why we sometimes “sleep on” a problem to get the answer or why you get an aha moment when doing the dishes or taking a shower. Whether you’re in finance, healthcare, or manufacturing, the big question is how can technology increase the speed and precision of the decision making process? Let iterative visualization directly on your Big Data lead you there.

To hear more of Morgan Wright’s commentary, check out: Hadooponomics Episode 13 Rethinking Big Data: Using Psychology and AI to Ask Better Questions. The Hadooponomics Podcast series is produced by Blue Hill Research in partnership with Arcadia Data. You can listen to prior episodes here.


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